A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea

Publisher’s description: If you’ve ever owned a sailboat or had a friend who did, you know how it begins: with a dream. You dream about the ship, and gradually the dream consumes you. Practical considerations lose all meaning … until, inevitably, the dream morphs into a nightmare. David Vann is familiar with that nightmare. His begins in Turkey: a thirty-year-old tourist, he stumbles across the steel frame of a ninety-foot sailboat that cries out to be built. From friends, family, and credit cards, he borrows the $150,000 to construct the ship. The Turkish builders take shameless advantage of him, eventually charging him over $500,000. On the edge of financial ruin, Vann starts a chartering business. But, when some new part of the ship isn’t falling apart, he encounters freak storms. As his debts escalate, Vann begins to wonder if he is merely repeating his father’s dreams and failures at sea—which ended with his father’s suicide. At once a page-turning true story of adventure on the open ocean and an archetypal tale of one man’s attempt to overcome fate and realize his dream, A Mile Down is an unforgettable story of struggle and redemption by a writer at the top of his form.

National Bestseller.

Tour of 17 states in 2005 (80 events, 40 radio interviews).

Foreign editions:  UK and Ireland (and most Commonwealth countries), Australia and New Zealand.

Photos of David’s boat sinking.

Acknowledgments page.

“Damn exciting.”–Stewart O’Nan, author of Snow Angels, Faithful, Songs for the Missing

“At once memoir, confession, travel book and thriller, David Vann’s A Mile Down is so vivid and intense you will dread to see it end…. The book is a testimony of passion and courage in deadly storms and scarier calms, of a man wrestling with his ghosts and gifts in the very shadow of paradise.”–Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek and Brave Enemies

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