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It is 13th century B.C. and aboard the ship Argo, Medea, Jason and the Argonauts make their return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis, in possession of the Golden Fleece.
David Vann, in brilliant poetic prose, gives us a nuanced and electric portrait of one of Greek mythology’s most fascinating and notorious figures, Medea; an ancient tale reimagined through the eyes of the woman often cast as sorceress and monster.
Atmospheric and spellbinding, Bright Air Black is an indispensable and provocative take on one of our earliest texts and the most intimate and corporal version of Medea’s story ever told.
‘Vann’s prose is as pure as a gulp of water from an Alaskan stream.'
‘[Vann] is the real thing—a mature, risk-taking and fantastically adept fiction writer who dares go to the darkest places, explore their most appalling corners.'
‘One of the most exciting writers at work today.'
‘One of the most darkly talented and unsettling writers working today.’
‘Vann is a brave writer, daring to write about and depict things that most other authors would baulk at, but that’s what makes him so good—that unflinching eye for the darkness you could potentially find in any of us, given the wrong chain of events.’
‘David Vann has been one of the most thrilling discoveries of the past decade or so.’
‘David Vann’s work has a spare, parable-like quality…[he] writes with deft control and a gift for prose propelled as effortlessly as a school of fish.’
‘David Vann is surely one of the most powerful writers working today.’
‘Vann’s provocative prose is filled with a sense of wonder and beauty, even when the lives he describes are tragic.’
‘Aquarium feels like a soft thing lined with blood: a small, resolutely inward-looking book, full or ornate sentences with a darkness that frequently makes you want to squint and flinch as you turn the pages.’
‘The story is a familiar one, but David Vann breathes new life into the tale, taking the reader deep into Medea’s psyche. Atmospheric and poetic.’
‘Sensual and violent, often simultaneously, Vann’s novel evokes the primal force of women’s power.’
‘Wonderfully evocative and enjoyable…A great addition to the oeuvre of Greek mythological retellings.’