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Halibut on the Moon

In his riveting new novel, internationally bestselling New York Times Notable author and Prix Medicis étranger winner David Vann reimagines his father’s final days.

Middle-aged and deeply depressed, Jim arrives in California from Alaska and surrenders himself to the care of his brother Gary, who intends to watch over him. Swinging unpredictably from manic highs to extreme lows, Jim wanders ghostlike through the remains of his old life, attempting to find meaning in his tattered relationships with family and friends. As sessions with his therapist become increasingly combative and his connections to others seem ever more tenuous, Jim is propelled forwards by his thoughts, which have the potential to lead him, despairingly, to his end.

Halibut on the Moon
is a searing exploration of a man held captive by the dark logic of depression struggling to wrench himself free. In vivid and haunting prose, Vann offers us an aching portrait of a mind in peril, searching desperately for some hope of redemption.


Kirkus Reviews
San Francisco Examiner 
Sydney Morning Herald 
Weekend Australian 

David Vann
About the Author

David Vann is an internationally bestselling author published in nineteen languages. He is the winner of fourteen prizes and his books (Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island, Dirt, A Mile Down and Last Day On Earth) have appeared on seventy Best Books lists in a dozen countries. He is a professor at the University of Warwick in England and lives...

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Text publication date:
2 April 2019
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Praise for David Vann
andHalibut on the Moon

‘An absolutely riveting read, and I take my hat off to Vann for not just imagining his father’s very troubled mind, but for writing such an arresting and beautifully melancholic testament to him…[T]he best thing that I have read so far this year.’

‘One of the most darkly talented and unsettling writers working today.’

‘His prose is as clear, fresh and invigorating as a starry winter night on an Aleutian mountainside.’

‘Vann gives us ample food for thought…his incredibly powerful and deeply affecting novel makes us feel as well as think.’

‘Disturbing and haunting…David Vann excels at writing about the darkest side of the human heart.’

‘Vann’s gift – his quest, almost – is a willingness to explore the unimaginable, the unthinkable, on the page. He 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.’

‘What endures the most from this novel is the sense of desperation that emerges from its central character—a feeling that’s at once profoundly alienated from everything and everyone around it and heartbreakingly tactile. A moving portrait of a family dealing with loss before it happens and of the harrowing ways depression can disrupt countless lives.’

‘Raw and heartbreaking…[A] poignant, powerful story.’

Other editions ofHalibut on the Moon
  • Halibut on the Moon
    ISBN: 9781925774320
    2 April 2019
    Buy ebook