David Vann builds his first novel out of dire materials: his father took his own life, and his stepmother's parents died in a murder/suicide. Caribou Island (Harper Collins), a tense depiction of a dissolving marriage, sets versions of these personal events in the wilds of Alaska, where Vann was born. How does a writer face the demons in his life and in his work? Is writing, itself, the safeguard?
Read an excerpt from Caribou Island.