Bold melodrama of life’s perilous seas
READERS of David Vann’s most recent novel, Goat Mountain, were offered no respite from the gruelling physical and moral trials set in train by a deadly incident at the start of a hunting trip. Since the book’s publication in September, Vann has said that the burden of family lore and legend has now been worked through in his fiction, freeing him to turn elsewhere.
The most recent book of his to be released in Australia, via Text Publishing, is a revised version of a work that first appeared as long ago as 2005, when Vann’s career as an author — let alone sailing vessels with which he was associated — seemed to be in danger of foundering. A Mile Down is a tale in which the protagonist cum author finds no respite; a chronicle of mis-
A Mile Down: The True Story of A Disastrous Career at Sea
By David Vann Text Publishing, 241pp, $24.99 adventures and double dealing, comic at times (though rarely for Vann) and near tragic at others. Populated by a cast of villains and long-suffering friends, the book is a bold melodrama where the action takes place in seedy ports and dockyards, luxury resorts on tropical islands, and in the peril of monstrous seas.
The story opens in 1976, when the author’s