Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Ink by David Vann

vann.jpg

A golden face in darkness, helmet mask. Appearing in torchlight over the water and vanishing again. Face of the sun, descendent of the sun.

Father and home and betrayal and rage. Four plumes along his mask, a scattering of light, a kind of mane. His shield of many hides a hollowed blackness. Ashen spear a thin line and then gone. The sail above him bowed out like the belly of an ox grown large as a god, hooves making no sound in the water below.

Nothing will stop her father, Medea knows. He has lost too much. They have taken everything. All she can do is slow him. She reaches down for a piece of her brother, a forearm strong and strangely soft now, already cooling, and drops it into the sea, almost without sound, buried by the splash of oars.

She has done this for Jason and will do more, she knows. Her brother dismembered at her feet. This is how the world begins.

Dark wood in darker water, a sea of ink, and pattern felt but unseen, quartering waves caught only in glimpses. Wood thick beneath them, lines creaking, pressure from rudders. All held together as one, barbarian and her Minyae. Each hull a home.

Flesh that should sink but will not, a forearm too small to notice in torchlight in that darkness, but seen nonetheless. Her father commanding the sail lowered, the oars shipped.

What myth can hold when you kneel in your brother’s remains? When you slit his throat? What can guide us if we betray all?

Dark one, Medea says to the water. Let everything that binds fall. Let all that is known be confused. Let all that we are die. Let me be most hated of all women, and most true.

Goat Mountain by David Vann is out now (William Heinemann)

(Image: Rex)

Related

landsdale.jpg

Hit call by Joe R Lansdale

main-image.jpg

The Best Crime Novel Covers Ever

horowitz.jpg

The ShortList crime challenge

Comments

More

Donald Ray Pollock: Inside the mind of a nightmare specialist

Modern master of disturbing prose on the moments from page & screen that made him who he is

05 Oct 2016

Harry Potter fans can now discover their Patronus

Don't lie, you want to give it a go, don't you?

by David Cornish
23 Sep 2016

20 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Stephen King

21 Sep 2016

Your chance to see excellent US author Donald Ray Pollock

And also have a beer! Win win

08 Sep 2016

Return to a nineties classic: Chuck Palahniuk on Fight Club

20 years since Fight Club, the author tells us how he’d rewrite his seminal novel for 2016

17 Aug 2016

Details announced for new Partridge book

'Nomad' will arrive this autumn

21 Jul 2016

13 famous books that had very different working titles

by Chris Sayer
10 Jun 2016

George RR Martin has just confirmed this brilliant GOT fan theory

A badass character gets a badass back story

by David Cornish
01 Jun 2016

Twitter account Photoshops 90s’ books to give them titles they deserve

12 Apr 2016

You're going to want these stunning new Shakespeare books

The books your bookshelf deserves

by David Cornish
12 Apr 2016