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Soul Filth

Aren’t you all just incredibly clever! Just in time for the annual October celebration of matters dark and dreadful, you have chosen to read Dirt: A Novel by David Vann, 272 pages, 2012.  So pick your “spirit” and delve deep into the murky human abyss.

“The year is 1985, and twenty-two-year-old Galen lives with his emotionally dependent mother in a secluded old house surrounded by a walnut orchard in a suburb of Sacramento. He doesn't know who his father is, his abusive grandfather is dead, and his grandmother, losing her memory, has been shipped off to a nursing home. Galen and his mother survive on the family's trust fund—old money that his aunt, Helen, and seventeen-year-old cousin, Jennifer, are determined to get their hands on.” Often compared to Cormac McCarthy, the Washington Post said of Vann's sophomore novel: “Searing. . . . Vann has an extravagantly literary sensibility, and his novel is full of echoes: One thinks of the stately inevitability of classical tragedy, of Chekhov’s lost souls, of the hallucinatory quality of Faulkner’s rural fantasia, and of Stephen King’s depictions of an unraveling mind.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the lead character, Galen, “might want to believe that naming trauma in advance can take away its power, but there is no way to anticipate or name the horror that closes his story. …I won't give away more about the ending except to say you read it knowing: I won't ever be able to forget this, even if I want to.” (Critics seem to be issuing a lot of these warnings, lately.)

Dirt: A Novel is in the Jefferson Parish Public Library, but not in New Orleans. It is also available online as an ebook. I will check with Maple Street and let you know when they have some copies.

NOTE:  Please be courteous to your fellow Meetup members and remember to cancel your RSVP if you find you cannot attend.  We always have people on our wait list.  And remember that your membership will be canceled after three no-shows with a YES RSVP.  Thank you for being considerate.

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  • Scott

    It's amazing how even when we don't care for the book we still manage to have a lively discussion.

    October 25, 2012

  • Chris R.

    Great conversation a terrible book!

    October 24, 2012

  • Scott

    Would anyone living in the Marigny or Bywater area by chance have a copy of Dirt that I could borrow? I take good care of books; I don’t dog-ear and will refrain from scribbling exclamations in the margins. In exchange for letting me borrow your book I could buy you a drink at the meeting or make you a bookmark or tell you a joke! If not it’s no sweat off my teeth; I’ll shell out the money for a copy. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Thanks!

    October 9, 2012

    • Scott

      Thanks for all the offers, I actually just picked it up from the library! See you all at The Columns.

      October 11, 2012

    • Lisa P.

      Katee--do you still have the spare copy? the copy I thought I was getting at the library is a "dirt" novel by the wrong author (should have checked that, i know, i know) thanks, Lisa

      October 19, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Finally, my year long "process" is over. Sold my Florida house in five weeks and moving to River Ridge on October 5th. can't wait to meet you all.

    September 12, 2012

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