Goat Mountain by David Vann

Goat Mountain is the first David Vann novel I’ve read, and it was quite an experience. The novel tells the story of a family of men who go out on a hunting trip, discover a poacher, and become embroiled in deep conflict and tragedy when the eleven year old kills the man. Vann’s novel is a snapshot of the moment. The reader knows that the boy lives to be much older, but doesn’t get to see the life that he is leading – though he is reflective of his past and seems to be attempting to process what he learned from the experience, while ruminating on the nature of mankind. This novel is not for the fain of heart. Vann is graphic in his descriptions of death and killing, and the men’s interactions with each other in the aftermath are brutal. Goat Mountain explores man’s true nature as a beast of the planet, and the struggle to tame that nature through society and religion. I’m not sure of my final takeaway, but he presents a host of thought provoking issues to ponder.

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