The Epicenter: David Vann in Conversation with Tom Barbash

Co-presented by Green Apple Books

Litquake is proud to host the San Francisco launch of David Vann's newest novel, Aquarium. Vann will be in conversation, with book sales and signing to follow.

Vann’s dazzling debut Legend of a Suicide sold over 250,000 copies in France alone, was reviewed in over 150 major global publications, won eleven prizes worldwide, was on forty Best Books of the Year lists, and established its author as a literary master. Since then, this internationally bestselling author has delivered an exceptional body of work, receiving fifteen awards, including best foreign novel in France and Spain (France’s Prix Médicis Étranger, Spain’s Premi Llibreter), a California Book Award, and the Grace Paley Prize. Aquarium, his implosive new book and the first to be published by Grove, will take Vann to a wider audience than ever before.

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.


Critical Praise

"Since electrifying the literary world five years ago with his debut novel, Legend of a Suicide, Vann has racked up an astonishing number of international awards. This lovely, wrenching novel should add to that list."—Library Journal (starred review)

"A kind of modern fairy tale...Unlike Vann's other novels, which exist in a closed system of violence and despair, this story offers redemption...Vann's novels are striking, uncompromising portraits of American life; here is another exceptional example."—Kirkus Reviews