Legend of a Suicide

Publisher’s description: In Legend of a Suicide, his heartbreaking semi-autobiographical debut story-collection, David Vann relates the story of a young man trying to come to terms with the guilt and pain of his father’s suicide. The wild outback of the author’s native Alaska acts as the ideal backdrop for this collage of six stories—a novella and five shorts—and mirrors the author’s own psychological wilderness. From “an important new voice in American literature” (Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain) comes an unforgettable exploration of the tragic gaps between one boy and his father.

Winner of 11 prizes: Prix Medicis Etranger (France, best foreign novel, 2010), Premi Llibreter (Spain, best foreign novel, 2011), Le Prix des Lecteurs de L’Express (France, 2010), California Book Award (2008), Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction (2007), Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award, 1st place in Fish Stories Best Fiction Contest, 1st prize winner of River City Writing Awards, Prix du Marais (regional public library prize in France, 2011), Le Prix des Lecteurs de la Maison du Livre de Rodez (local bookstore prize in France, 2010), Esquire Contributor’s Award 2008.

Listed for other prizes: The Story Prize, longlisted 2008, Two Pushcart Prize nominations, 2nd place Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Prize for the novel.

On 40 ”Best Books of the Year” lists: #1 Book of the Year, El Economista (Mexico), #1 Los Libreros Recomiendan (Spain), #1 of top 100 Books for Summer, ABC (Spain), #1 Book of the Year, Australian Literary Review, #2 Fiction of the Year, Que Leer (Spain), #3 in Top Ten Foreign, El Periodico (Spain), #4 Book of the Year, Culturamas (Spain), New York Times Notable Books, New York Times Editor’s Choice, Kansas City Star, San Francisco Chronicle, Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, HUMO (Belgium), Het Parool (Netherlands), El Pais (Spain), Le Point (France), Technikart (France), De Standaard (Belgium), Spectator (UK), Sudwestrundfunk Bestenliste (Germany), Seminary Co-Op Bookstores (Chicago), Times Literary Supplement (UK), Observer (UK), Guardian (UK), The Independent (UK), Sunday Business Post (Ireland), Telegraph, London Evening Standard, Esquire UK, Sunday Times (UK), New Statesman (UK), Australian, Times, Harper’s Bazaar, etc.

Published in 21 languages in foreign editions:  UK/Commonwealth (except Canada), French, German, Dutch, Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Basque, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Italian, Croatian, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Mandarin (Taiwan, Complex Chinese rights), Mandarin (China, Simplified Chinese rights), Korean, Serbian, Polish.

Selected by Lorrie Moore for The New Yorker Book Club.

Selected by The Times Book Club.

International Bestseller.

Read on North German radio for two weeks.

Reading Group Guide

An American classic. -The Sunday Times

A truly great writer. -The Irish Sunday Independent

One of the best writers of his generation. -Le Figaro

His legend is at once the truest memoir and the purest fiction…Nothing quite like this book has been written before. -Alex Linklater, The Observer

The great American novel we’ve awaited. -Le Point

From the shores of Vann’s Alaska one can see the Russia of Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons… “A father, after all,” Vann writes, “is a lot for a thing to be.”  A son is also a lot for a thing to be; so is an artist.  With Legend of a Suicide David Vann proves himself a fine example of both. -Tom Bissell, The New York Times

A masterpiece. -France Inter

A new great American novelist.  -France Info

Brilliant . . . Vann’s prose follows the sinews of Cormac McCarthy and Hemingway, yet has its own nimble flex. -The Times

Magnificent.  -Telerama

With “Legend of a Suicide,” Vann looks into the dark and isolated heart of the American soul. It is a devastating journey that is difficult to read but impossible to put down and equally impossible to forget. -The San Francisco Chronicle

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