We asked one of our favourite writers Ross Raison (author of God’s Own Country), to review five of his best reads. This is what he said about Legend of a Suicide: "Pure writing. I suspect that the shop is already plugging this book quite heavily, but I am going to ignore that fact and include it again here. It is that good. I think the whole review coverage of the book, fixating on its form and whether it is memoir or fiction and how important a question that is, is not really that important. It's just very good. Read it."
Nic Bottomley (Tue 26th Jul 2011)
A collection of stories and a novella, which tell the tale of Roy and his fragile relationship with his troubled father Jim; a frustrated dentist who walks out on his family when Roy is still young. The short stories hang together like chapters of a longer novel, all told from Roy’s first-person perspective and depicting episodes from childhood and adulthood in the same desperate and detached voice. But the dramatic novella fundamentally deviates from the plot established in the five stories, leaving the fate of Roy and his father ultimately undecided.
However, it is Vann’s writing style that makes him such an exciting author. He shows the same concentration on minute details as the American poet Elizabeth Bishop, whom he quotes in one of his latter stories. Thus he manages to bring the backdrop to the foreground and creates stunningly vivid images, particularly of the Alaskan landscape, where all but one of these stories is set.
This is an incredibly sad book – but definitely worth reading.
Kate Double (Thu 14th Jul 2011)