Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Dirt by David Vann

I did not like this book.

I was warned that I might not like this book in the pitch from the publisher. They said it was dark and gritty and about all the darker, perverse parts of humanity. But the thing is that while you can say that, it all boils down to the writing. It boils down to how much of my own experiences I can find in the misery and sometimes I find hope where other people don't. And this author has received so much acclaim, I wanted to read the book anyway.

I won't say it was a huge mistake, it was really readable. But it wasn't pleasant. I sort of found myself rushing through to the end because I didn't care about any of these fools. There was like, a few times I thought I might start liking it but they went away quickly.

Basically this book is about Galen who is kind of...well a loser. He lives with his mother and we're led to believe she stole all the inheritance from his grandma, and her sister and her daughter really resent that fact. And his grandmother isn't actually dead, she lives in a home and has pretty much lost her memory. And he's attracted to his cousin, who loves that he's attracted to her and their sex acts are described in some detail. Which I found a little revolting.

But mostly it's about how Galen has convinced himself that everything is imaginary, not real, something he must overcome so to say. I don't know some sort of Buddhist teaching or something? And so whenever he's bothered he just tells himself they are manifestations of his inner pain he must overcome or something. And you get hints of what's really going on, of how his family used violence to deal with their issues and covered everything up without ever talking about it, through Galen's narrative.

And then the ending is really awful, too.

So that's Dirt! I think there are Ideas and stuff in here that you are supposed to be able to talk about but I couldn't get past the horrific surface enough to care.

Rating: 2/5
Things You might Want to know: profanity! violence! sex!
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: Harper


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