Nominated by:

Cleveland Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Atlantic Monthly Press, USA


David Vann      

2017 Longlist

Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored of the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.

In crystalline, chiseled, yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her. Relentless and heartbreaking, primal and redemptive, Aquarium is a transporting story from one of the best American writers of our time.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Published in twenty languages, David Vann’s internationally bestselling books have won fifteen prizes, including best foreign novel in France and Spain, and appeared on seventy-five Best Books of the Year lists in a dozen countries. A former Guggenheim fellow, he is currently a professor at the University of Warwick in England and honorary professor at the University of Franche-Comté in France.

Librarian’s Comments

In Aquarium, David Vann gives us the story of young Caitlin as she discovers her sexuality and deals with the daily struggles of her dysfunctional family. Her beloved daily visits to the aquarium provide a reprieve from life and an unexpected reuniting with her family. Through many awkward and tense moments, Vann shows the reality of the physical and emotional pain that surfaces when caring for loved ones.

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