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Translated from the English by Miriam Mandelkow. It should be something special, the 11-year-old boy's first real hunting trip with his father, grandfather and a friend of his father's. Looking forward to shooting his first stag, he sets off with the men. When they reach the family's hunting ground, they see a poacher in the distance. The father lets the boy look at the intruder through the telescopic sight of his hunting rifle, but instead of just watching, he pulls the trigger. And it seems strangely untouched. There is no dismay about your own deed, tears or remorse. Is the boy not aware of the scope of his deed? Does he have no compassion? And what should be done with the corpse?
Review note on Die Welt, December 27, 2014
Not for the sensitive, warns Rainer Moritz about David Vann's new novel. The main character's review of a Californian childhood at the end of the 70s and a family tragedy after a hunting accident in the mountains seems to Moritz as gloomy as it is realistic. But wait, he says, what he is reading here has more to do with primal fears and instincts. In any case, he can't get the pictures in the text out of his head that easily. And Vann's barren language does your part. With all this, however, the author could easily have saved himself the Bible allusions, the reviewer finds.
Review note on Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 21, 2014
Violence and crises have always been the themes of David Vann, Martin Zähringer knows and therefore finds it quite logical that the American author also deals with "the hunting instinct and lust for murder" in "Goat Mountain". He very subtly combines the memories of a first-person narrator with the hunting trip of an 11-year-old who dreams of the perfect moment of shooting, but instead shoots a poacher and lets a deer die miserably. Zähringer finds the dramatic structure quite artful, and the built-in reflections on guilt and tragedy and the apparent meaning of the ritual also make sense. He also explicitly highlights Miriam Mandelkow's translation, which captures Vann's eloquence and precision excellently.
Review note on Die Zeit, 10/01/2014
David Vann, despite obvious efforts, cannot get rid of the poetic pathos of hunting and "killing as the basis of life" that soak the soil of his novel "Goat Mountain", regrets reviewer Ina Hartwig. A boy goes hunting with his father, grandfather and a friend of the family, an initiation rite that the family still maintains from the old Cherokee tradition, even if there may not be much else of this tradition, the reviewer reports. You come across a poacher whom the boy shoots without really knowing what he is doing - a moral struggle of the elders follows, which is teeming with biblical allusions and quotations, but also the "thing with Jesus" As the book says, the "pathos of masculinity" cannot be erased, explains Hartwig. On the other hand, the boy's psychological development is incredibly strong, praises the reviewer: only when he shoots a deer so unhappily that the animal dies in front of his eyes does the boy understand what it meant to kill the poacher and only then feels he is slowly blaming it, reveals Hartwig.
Review note on Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 2, 2014
Christoph Schröder gives David Vann's "Goat Mountain" a juicy slap: the author reveals himself to be a "trashy pathetic", the story about son, father and grandfather in the wilderness is a "monotonous sequence of excesses of violence" and Vann's "unfortunate tendency towards self-interpretation" unnecessarily duplicate the allusions to passages from the Bible that the author includes in his story. The book is an "archaic firecracker" without any irony, finds the reviewer, who finds comparisons with Cormac McCarthy used elsewhere incomprehensible. Schröder hopes that Vann will find a connection with "In the Name of the Father" with his next book, which he had decidedly better.Read the review at buecher.de
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