By David Vann
In semiautobiographical tales set principally in David Vann's local Alaska, Legend of a Suicide follows Roy Fenn from his delivery on an island on the fringe of the Bering Sea to his go back thirty years later to confront the turbulent feelings and complicated legacy of his father's suicide.
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Extra resources for Legend of a Suicide: Stories (P.S.)
She said, ‘I love you, Rhoda. Everything is perfect here. ” “Don’t be an idiot, Jim,” she said very quietly. My father looked in the rearview to see if I had heard that. I had no idea what to do, so I gave him the thumbs-up. “She’s going to kill him,” Rhoda said matter-of-factly at breakfast. She looked calmly into my father’s annoyance, his anger and fear. ” An hour later, I failed my after-breakfast oral-hygiene exam. “Numbers six and eleven still need work,” said my father the dentist. “And your gums are bleeding again.
We could hear the feathers of kestrels as they slanted past on the wind. ” my father asked. “No,” I said. 22 at one that was hovering a few hundred feet away. When he fired, the slim wings seemed to falter a moment, but I could have simply imagined it, because there was no fall. Rhoda coming toward us, clear of the brush, had taken off her sun hat and with her one clear eye was staring up at the bird. My father put another shell in the chamber and waited for the kestrel to slide by at closer range.
She could vanish. Just walk down toward the creek in her long dress, follow it, and not return, her history known to us then only in postcards or in dreams. Nothing was holding her. ” she asked. ” “Yes,” I said. ” Rhoda looked up at me then and smiled. She looked young, much younger than my father. “Of course not,” she said. ” All Sunday morning, Rhoda followed at a distance. She was wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap, but I imagined she was still wearing her great-grandmother’s dress, her face hidden by her sun hat as she climbed the narrow ribbon of fire road along each ridge.