By David Vann
Harper, $25.99, 240 pages

David Vann’s Goat Mountain asks the reader to confront killing animals and each other. The eleven year-old narrator, takes the reader on a journey to Goat Mountain, the family’s hunting grounds for generations. The boy is excited with anticipation of his first kill. As the father, grandfather and family friend begin their annual deer hunt, they see a poacher on their lands. The father allows his son to view the poacher through his gun scope. Tragic events ensue and family dynamics are changed forever. Family ties instantly become family hatred and each member shockingly turns on each other throughout the story. There is no happy ending to the tragic events.

“Eleven years old now, and I’d been shooting this rifle for two years, looking for bucks since I could remember, but this hunt was the first time I’d be allowed to kill.  Illegal still in age, but old enough finally by family law.”

Vann writes with gristly detail. This reviewer was squirming in her chair as she read some of the horrific passages. Readers will be amazed at how Vann weaves a tale of hatred, waffling alliances and cruelty in a rather thin 239 pages.

Reviewed by Seniye Groff

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