Caribou Island

  • by David Vann
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 8 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On a small island in a glacier-fed lake on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Gary and Irene’s marriage is unraveling. Alone now that the children are grown, Gary, driven by 30 years of diverted plans, is determined to build from scratch the cabin he has always wanted, believing it will recapture what once drew him to Alaska. Irene knows better. She suspects that the cabin is Gary’s first step to leaving her.
Soon they are hauling logs out to Caribou Island in good weather and in terrible storms, in sickness and in health. But setbacks begin to create chinks in Gary’s half-baked design, while Irene is stricken with mysterious headaches and troubling flashes of her tragic past. With each trip to the island their desperation escalates, and when winter comes early, the punishing desolation of the prehistoric wilderness will threaten to push Irene and Gary to the edge and end a marriage sustained by pain and rage that has been simmering for years.
A noir novel rooted in a world of profound violence and regret, Caribou Island is an exploration of marriage and exile set against the interminable restlessness of Alaska’s primal landscape.


What the Critics Say

“Vann… renders luminous prose in this haunting tale of hardened hearts and broken dreams.” (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Stunning story!

I can only echo what the previous reviewer had to say. In fact, I almost gave up on this book because the characters seemed so inhospitable and unapproachable, in some ways like the setting. Somewhere in about the middle of the story, things started to get more interesting, and I could not put the book down. As the situations are set up and it becomes obvious how life has gradually stripped these people from their souls, their life force, their energies, the story comes to its only logical conclusion. In some ways this book is cautionary tale, and I, too, am still thinking about it.
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- Pamela Harvey "glam"

Thought-provoking, for good or for bad.

I finished this audiobook a few hours ago and I'm still thinking about it. I'm an audiobook junkie (as my credit card bill will reflect) and listen everyday. This one is sticking with me, perhaps not in a good way, but I can't stop thinking about these characters. David Vann somehow has taken the most mundane situations and turned them into nail-biters. The funny thing about this book is you really don't even like most of the characters. I suspect this might be because I see myself in them and I don't like what I see. Caribou Island is a case study in the intensely difficult realm of personal relationships and he does not pull any punches. Also, Bronson Pinchot does a great job with the narration. It never pulls you away from the story, which to me is the best thing a narrator can do. Get this book. You won't be sorry. Or maybe you will be, but it won't be because of the writer.
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- Missy "Audiobook & podcast Junkie. I'm that annoying person who you see wearing earbuds 24/7."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-18-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.