Dirt – David Vann. Release Date: June 7th
Dirt is a short, brutal and deeply unsettling book. Told in the third person but always following Galen we see the world through his eyes, immediately it is clear that his home life is unusual. Galen is 22 and lives alone in a large mansion with his mother; the only other characters in this book are Galen’s Aunt, his cousin and his Grandmother. The small cast adds to the claustrophobia of this book as we discover that their wealth, amongst other things, has fractured his family along disturbing lines.
Over the course of a weekend trip to the family mountain lodge Galen’s grip on reality moves from eccentric to dangerous as he is provoked and challenged by his female relatives. It is equally apparent, that everyone else in the family is affected by their hidden past. None of the characters in this book are likeable or even sympathetic despite suggestions of great abuse in their background but the beauty of the simple writing pulls you in as it sucks you down into the nadir of Galen’s madness. It is the clear, fragile writing that carries this book and makes it something quite unforgettable.