Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Can't Keep It To Myself: Aquarium, by David Vann

I realize it's been awhile since I've posted about a book that I want to share with everyone I know, but this one? I honestly can't stop thinking about it, nearly a week after finishing it.

The novel in question, of course, is David Vann's latest, Aquarium. In it, twelve-year-old Caitlin lives in subsidized housing in Seattle with her mother, who works as a docker at the local container port. Each day after school, Caitlin goes to the aquarium while she's waiting for her mother to come and pick her up, spending hours in the dim rooms watching the fish swim by in light of their tanks. When she befriends an old man who is also a regular aquarium visitor, Caitlin also uncovers a long-buried family secret which transforms her once-blissful relationship with her mother into an ordeal of nightmarish proportions. Ultimately, it is a beautifully written novel of family, of the power of love and forgiveness, of redemption, and of the heartache people cause one another. I found it absolutely enthralling and I could not put it down. A word of caution: this is not a novel for the faint of heart. However, I found it to be absolutely worth the emotional journey.

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