March 21, 2018

Aquarium by David Vann review – exploring the depths of a dark past

Much like the dark and perplexing debut that made his name, Legend of a Suicide, David Vann’s fifth novel, Aquarium, feels like a soft thing lined with blood: a small, resolutely inward-looking book, full of ornate sentences, with a darkness that frequently makes you want to squint and flinch as you turn the pages.

The aquarium of its title is the one where its central character, 12-year-old Caitlin, gazes at fish after school, often joined by a mysterious old man. Or is it? As our narrator, Caitlin sees everything as an aquarium, from the rainy