[Reading] ➰ Bright Air Black ➸ David Vann – Saudionline.co.uk

Bright Air Black pdf Bright Air Black, ebook Bright Air Black, epub Bright Air Black, doc Bright Air Black, e-pub Bright Air Black, Bright Air Black e24c7025413 In Bright Air Black, David Vann Transports Us To Th Century BC To Give A Nuanced And Electric Portrait Of The Life Of One Of Ancient Mythology S Most Fascinating And Notorious Women, MedeaIn Brilliant Poetic Prose Bright Air Black Brings Us Aboard The Ship Argo For Its Epic Return Journey Across The Black Sea From Persia S Colchis Where Medea Flees Her Home And Father With Jason, The Argonauts, And The Golden Fleece Vann S Reimagining Of This Ancient Tale Offers A Thrilling, Realist Alternative To The Long Held Notions Of Medea As Monster Or Sorceress We Witness With Dramatic Urgency Medea S Humanity, Her Bronze Age Roots And Position In Greek Society, Her Love Affair With Jason, And Her Tragic DemiseAtmospheric And Spellbinding, Bright Air Black Is An Indispensable, Fresh And Provocative Take On One Of Our Earliest Texts And The Most Intimate And Corporal Version Of Medea S Story Ever Told


10 thoughts on “Bright Air Black

  1. says:

    Bright Air Black requires a life preserve jacket while reading A Lightweight polyethylene foam coated vest with a polyester shell will give you the protection needed to hit the waters with Medea, daughter of Aeetes, granddaughter of Helios, and priestess of Hekate You ll take a mini haha.mini my ass nature boat ride with a few other characters as well Jason and his Argonauts, Argo and The Golden Fleece , and the Greek Gods will keep you company Do not plan on breathing there are no get out of Jail free pass cards..but you get one pass go to stand up and stretch card before beginning Book Two David Vann wrote one hell of an amazing LONG WINDED Dark violent modern Greek Mythology tale that is BLACK than BLACK The writing is so hypnotic awesomely mesmerizing and shockingly brilliant.How is it possible to write this interesting and creative Sure it s not easy to read or breath as I already told you.but the EXPERIENCE is worth it A little dark. Sample excerpt Medea takes a piece of her brother, a thigh, heavy and tough, muscled, and licks blood from it, dark and thick She spits, licks and spits again and again, three times to atone Mouth filled with the taste of her family s blood, and she throws this piece of Helios into the waves She has ripped out all their hearts, she knows Her father s crew crippled to see him made smaller She will humble him until there s nothing left, until his men don t know why they re rowing They will collect the pieces of the son and wonder that demigods call fall so easily As the ship keeps drifting in the wind, every stretch of water is black and unfamiliar Medea misses her brother misses him whole and alive , and she is with strangers She worries that since Jason her lover feels nothing for her brother.what can he possibly feel for her Her father s ship is receding, fading deeper into the night Medea wishes she could make her family whole again help her father, put her brother back together again breathe life into him but if she were to help she would feel chained She will not be a slave She will feel this need to help her father and she will not help him She will grieve her brother and kneel his remains and throw the next piece overboard when the time comes She will not be mastered If it is natural to be a slave, she will be unnatural Medea doesn t believe in God s, she believes in power. you have to be descended from God, this is the same thing Slaying her brother, destroying her father These are acts of God, acts that inspire fear and form myth God s do what cannot be done And a women can become a god easily because she is not allowed anything Medea has a strange relationship with Jason Pretty much the way she thinks of him is that he has no vision, no plans except to fuck and try not to be killed She wants to sail with Jason to Iolcus. Jason s hometown , but she doesn t want him or anyone to control her A feminist after my own heart Jason is to bring the Golden Fleece, the dark sheepskin, back home from the land of Colchis.an almost impossible mission His father Pelias secretly wishes he will be slain as he worried Jason wanted revenge against him Medea s fate is locked to Jason s She betrayed her father and butchered her brother for that fleece And Jason is political but too young and too pleased with himself and his fleece He is too hungry to be praised and loved GREAT STORYTELLING PHENOMENAL PROSEby a ridiculously gifted author Highly recommended for a wild experience.You re only bound by the elements water, fire, air, earth, and blood where it isDeep Darkerwith melting hues and shadows everywhere Men are not buried in the ground, but in the air strung from trees in unmanned ox hides Enjoy the chilly twisty ride I did Thank You Grove Atlantic, NetGalley, and David Vann you rock


  2. says:

    Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC I knew I was going to get a retelling of Medea from her point of view during the quest of The Golden Fleece and after, with Jason, but I wasn t quite prepared for just how beautiful the lines of the text were I mean, getting it all from the PoV of Medea was a pretty awesome treat, all by itself, and found myself fully in her camp despite all the awful things she does, but what really caught my attention, even , was the prose.This is some true mythopoetical realism, yo.I will admit that there were some parts during the first half of the text that could have been improved, at least making the text accessible those who haven t studied up on the old legends and the plays, for so much of the action has already happened right when the prose opens up I m not going to complain too much, however, because even though it assumes the audience is conversant with the legend, it doesn t really matter after a certain amount of time.Yes, we know Medea is a bad ass, willing to tear the world down to prevent her slide into slavery She s a beast willing to rend to keep herself out of chains.I particularly love how the author managed to turn someone like this into a heroic figure even than half the time, and even when she s doing her most evil deeds, I feel for her and want to cheer her on.That s a real feat.Is this niche Or does this have all the feel of Big Magical Realism for Mainstream I don t know, but it could certainly go either way I enjoyed it very much, too.Update 2 3 17 After some deep reflection, I had to change the rating from a four to a five star The language keeps with me after all this time and the shape of the story keeps getting better The aftertaste, so to speak It has NOTHING much to do with complaints from other reviewers Trish I do this on my own mostly.


  3. says:

    Born to destroy kings, born to reshape the world, born to horrify and break and remake, born to endure and never to be erased Hekate Medea, than god and than woman, alive now, in the time of origin Bright Air Black is a lyrical ode to the rage and power and will of one woman, Medea Spirited from the pages of Greek mythology and Euripides Medea, David Vann s Medea is a fierce, mostly fearless princess and priestess, as much in love with Jason as desperately seeking her own dominion to rule, her own decisions and choices to make, her own power to exercise as she sees fit, who teeters in darkness and madness when the threats of enslavement or subordination arise Book I is dedicated to the escape of the Minyae Argonauts and the pursuit by Medea s father Aeetes, as she ruminates on what she has done murder her brother and put pieces of him calculatingly into the sea to halt her fathers pursuit and what she would and will do for Jason and for her own freedom and ascension, and their arrival at Jason s home of Iolcos Book II brings us to her most powerful and desperate time, her trickery to ensure the death of Pelias so Jason can reclaim his rightful throne, his failure to act and their removal to Corinth, Jason s withdrawal of love and protection for her and their children, and the entrance of Glauce, usurper of Jason s heart and need for conquest Her revenge upon Jason is not without horrible pain and loss for Medea as well, and her split second decision to murder her sons is no less agonizing than in Euripides tragedy This is a novel concerned with agency, freedom, loyalty, power, and immortality, what it means to be remembered in your own time and all times and why and how that occurs Though it s not perfect, I found this to be a singular, powerful, haunting and gorgeous read, and gave it 5 stars Jason would erase Medea Use her to claim a victory, to claim dominion over barbarian lands, use her to bear children, his heirs, of royal lineage on both sides, then cast her away to be forgotten She knows he would do this, and this is what she must make impossible She clings to him now, suspended over the deck, lost in pleasure, but she won t forget This is another retelling of an ancient tale, and the second I ve read this month after Colm Toibin s House of Names What makes Bright Air Black stand out is who is telling it and how it s being told Everything is from a third person perspective centered on Medea, and it s all told in present tense Many individual lines are these short bursts with uneven rhythm and tempo, a bit strange at first until you realize you re pulled into the web of Medea s thoughts, instincts, emotions And she is both base and wise, human but something , so her stream of consciousness and torrent of feelings are mirrored in Vann s prose This is a read to submit to and submerge beneath, best to read in one sitting to get your bearings and then dive in And it s not overly long, but it is oppressively dark and sinister and sad, which can make it difficult to turn the page and move inexorably to the ending we all know is coming, even Medea to an extent, though she does what she can to avert it, empower herself, and occasionally believe in her love for Jason though she believes in her own strength and will The writing is clipped but charged, little lightning bolts of description and dialogue And there are small breaks between scenes, but no real chapters other than the Book I and II split We are borne upon Medea s mind and action as she is borne upon the Argo, and just as her days and nights seem endless, so too does the writing stretch and flow It makes for a very unique reading experience that once I was into, I could not interrupt, though I can see how the style may not work for everyone She would be a wrath much larger She would decimate all And she wonders why this is Rage, but others feel rage The difference in her is that nothing will hold her back She will do what is monstrous, because monstrous is only the absence of a lie, the great lie if what we are to each other, wife and husband, daughter and father, sister and brother, subject and king In the absence of that lie, a great freedom, any action possible It s interesting that when I first heard the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, or Jason and the Golden Fleece, Medea is a secondary character, a helper to Jason and desperately in love with him, only to go mad when he puts her aside and enact terrible wrongs upon him But for Euripides, and now for Vann, Medea is central, important in her own right, owed for being the true deliverer of the Argonauts safely home from their quest, yet despised and feared and not celebrated by any of them, including Jason And in Bright Air Black we see some of it is of her own doing playing up her devotion to Hekate, spitting blood at the men, belittling and swearing at most of them during the journey This comes out of her need for freedom and desire for domination, but also fear of slavery, of servitude, of being made less than what she is and turned simply into a woman, to be dismissed and downtrodden and disposed of at the whim of a man, be it her father, brother, Pelias, Creon, or Jason She sees them value and worship gods for these unbelievable actions, so she takes them in hand and is her own god to imbue fear and deference in them She s complex and always has been, a primal force of nature, a maelstrom of emotion, but also has in her the same basic qualities we all have in ourselves There s also a proto feminist message here, as Medea refuses to be enslaved by her societal or natural instincts to suborn herself to the will of men She s tested by those impulses as they flee her father and she is tempted to bring her brother back to life and rebuild their family, and again as Jason is ready to put her aside and she questions if she should submit, go easy, for the sake of her children be spurned and cast out She will not be mastered If it is natural to be a slave, she will be unnatural Medea s darkness is of human origin, and she is partially pushed into malice and cruelty by those forces that would see her bound and restrained And as Vann has us seeing the world of the Greeks through her perspective, we are able to empathize with her emotions, if not always her actions If enough people repeat the stories for long enough, Jason will become something that cannot die, but he also will have been erased, because the actions are too large and impersonal The stories will reveal nothing about the real man that lived Medea would have something personal, something remembered and caught and frozen that can only be her, some moment none can fully understand or forget Vann s words about Medea s views about herself and her husband are ultimately proved accurate in the modern age Jason is remembered as a sort of hero, lesser than those that followed, but without real connection to his character, and in myth he dies alone and unloved and forsaken, crushed under the dilapidated Argo And Vann gives us a Jason who is young, willful, capricious, knowing less about power than his wife and never truly desiring to rule Meanwhile Medea lives on, in myth and modern scholarship and now in David Vann s meditative novel Bright Air Black, feared and abhorred and remembered for her actions against her own children and her dark power, but also understood, contemplated, allotted complexity of character and motive She is feared for her powers, but also underestimated many times over for being a woman, which proves that those men who become her enemies are taken unawares by their adversary, even and especially Jason Vann s retelling is worthy of the source material, in substance and especially in style I d give this 4.5 stars overall, rounding up to 5 It s not a perfect read I felt the ending was a bit too abrupt, with little delving into a Medea s psyche after committing fillicide, and I would have preferred less time spent on the Argo to get from Medea in Iolcos or Corinth or even Athens that phase of her life does not appear But overall, I thought this was well done, extremely unique, a most worthy retelling and a beautiful piece of art I highly recommended for enthusiasts of Greek mythology, with an understanding that you are getting a contemporary spin on an old tale done in an epic, lyrical style, and that the overall feeling is black as night and may take you to your own dark places while reading it received as an ARC via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Grove Atlantic


  4. says:

    Earlier this year, I read the hugely popular Circe, named for a demi goddess who becomes a witch A witch who sometimes turns men into pigs Once, in a fit of jealousy, she turned a nymph into a hideous multi headed swamp beast Reading this reminded me that Greek mythology isn t pretty.Well, Bright Air Black makes Circe look like a child s bedtime story Medea, niece of Circe, priestess of Hekate, is the witch to rule all witches Shakespeare s weird sisters have NOTHING on her Eye of newt Please Medea puts balls of king into her cauldron Medea stands naked in a hot, steaming room, tending to her gory soup, thinking of the time she chopped up her brother and then lay next to his rotting parts on the ship as her father followed in furious, close pursuit All the while she has her eye on the prize to be subject to no one, especially a man.While Circe is baroque in its readable, elegant prose, Vann s novel is poetically charged Many a sentence would alert the grammar police, but it doesn t much matter Somehow this distinctive, lyrical voice suits the grim premise I believe this story was told with a lot of love that is, Vann does his utmost to humanise Euripedes Medea in an effort to sculpt her into a woman of three dimensions There is to her than a heartless, power hungry monster She s a woman who rages against the patriarchal machine, against a history that erases females after they serve their biological function However, Vann can t help but also show in equally vivid dimensions how little compunction she has to strike with violence in order to get what she wants While it is thrilling to watch Medea s wild, witchy ways, this ruthlessness doesn t make her much different from the male power figures she resents so much Besides power, the next most important thing to Medea is Jason Jason is the weakest part of this story for me It doesn t quite compute that such a single minded, independent woman would need a man so desperately Especially when Jason is so bland a character as he is depicted here, so blank a face Vann crafts such a loving portrait of Medea that he neglects her husband, and as a result, I want him swatted away like the fly he is I never understood why this strong and complex woman would sacrifice everything for such a man.Maybe though, that is what feeds her black rage Her desire to dominate being drowned in her own dominating love Perhaps it is not the result that is so important as the struggle, the scream.This is a particularly savage book It s written in blood, reeks with the stench of death, echoes with the wails of the damned She will not be mastered If it is natural to be a slave, she will be unnatural


  5. says:

    If I was to rate this book purely based on its language it would be a five star book, hands down David Vann really knows how to write the most amazing sentences Some paragraphs were just breathtakingly beautiful in a truly unique way He mixes short, fragmented sentences with longer elaborate ones and the result is absolutely stunning There were so many instances where I had to pause reading just to appreciate the sheer genius of his expression and I am beyond impressed with this If you don t know the classic Medea myth, the following paragraphs will be full of spoilers In this retelling of the Medea myth, Vann creates a brilliantly dark atmosphere and a relentlessly compelling narrative structure We follow Medea from the moment she leaves Colchis, having just dismembered her brother, to the moment she is most famous for killing her twin children From the very beginning the book is relentless, there is never a good moment to stop reading and take a breath Medea is full of rage, raging against everything and everyone, and this rage is felt throughout the book She is never soft, never weak, even in her love for her children she is demanding and intense and even frightening Medea is one of my favourite characters of all time and I love that Vann lets her be angry, lets her rage, and lets her be unsympathetic in her desire to never be erased from her time and from the history that follows, she is dark and mean and it is in her nature to be that way.However, where this book did feel a bit flat for me was in its depiction of Medea s and Jason s relationship This relationship is at the core of this story and for all that importance, it never made sense She leaves everything behind for him even if leaving her father s world had other reasons as well and I just never got a sense of why she would do this Jason is a bit too much of a non entity overall, he is not strong enough as a character to be a convincing counterpoint for her rage Still, this is a minor complaint and it might very well have been a conscious decision to make him so bland a character The writing is just so very brilliant to make up for any perceived lack of character development I mean just look at this paragraph Medea is without words, without thought She has unstrung the world, pulled some vital thread and unraveled all Nothing to do now but hold her breath and find out whether a new world re forms ____I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review Thanks for that


  6. says:

    4.5 StarsVann s telling of his story of Jason and Medea begins aboard the Argo, with Medea s father in pursuit She has ripped out all their hearts, she knows Her father s crew crippled to see him made smaller She will humble him until there s nothing left, until his men don t know why they re rowing They will collect the pieces of the son and wonder that demigods can fall so easily.Vann s Medea is fiery, a quick tempered, passionate, feisty descendant of gods and royalty A sorceress She falls in love with Jason, leaves her home to travel with him on the Argo to his home, Iolcos, where they will marry and then rule it is Jason s birthright The prose is spellbinding Vann has such a way with weaving his spell around horrifying scenes with some of the most gorgeous, crafted imagery Violent, dark and disturbing, Medea is, as Jason says to her, rage personified, and when her rage is unleashed well, hell hath no fury like a sorceress scorned Be prepared to read this when you aren t pressed for time With very few breaks built in, it s a bit difficult to find a place to stop but don t let that stop you from reading this, because the truth is, you won t want to stop.Pub Date 7 Mar 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Grove Atlantic Grove Press, Black Cat


  7. says:

    Bright Air Black requires and rewards rapt attention Like every other Vann novel the writing is a unique mix of poetry and viscera There is really no one else who writes like this There is no one else who could have so deeply imagined Medea murdering her brother on the deck of Jason s ship, as she flees with Jason from her father s wrath The moment where she cuts her brother s throat, which she does without hesitation but while looking into his eyes, loving him, is moving and also very disturbing Chapters later she scrapes her brother s remains from where they have congealed on the deck, and Vann s meticulous care in describing this scene would be remarkable all on its own, but these scenes and their remarkableness just keep coming, one following another I don t think the style is similar but in its revivification of an ancient and familiar story it reminds me of The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Saramago.


  8. says:

    This is a thing of beauty True and utter beauty.David Vann retells the story of fabled Medea Anyone not knowing the myth should read it first or at least google it before reading this book and my review because there will be spoilers.Medea is the most famous daughter of Colchis, supposedly some kind of witch, who killed her own brother and chopped his body to pieces, to help Jason getting away with the golden fleece which he was only able to steal because she helped him Later, after being betrayed by Jason, she kills their sons in revenge.As with most of the ancient stories featuring women in leading roles, the story was about the monstrosities Medea committed and the male hero who had to endure her This retelling, however, shines light at what made her do all the things she did.We start with Medea already being on the Argo Jason s ship after getting the fleece She chops her brother s body to pieces and throws those pieces into the sea to gain the favour of Hekate, goddess of darkness, in order to escape her raging father in actuality she doesn t know if there is a goddess but knows that her father will always stop the ship to retrieve the body part, slowing him down The whole motivation for her to cast her lot in with Jason was that she wanted to be free Young and naive, she believed in Jason s love and that they could end up happy together or at least that she d be free Interesting is that the author touched upon another half myth, stating that there had been many golden fleece in ancient Greece, but that only one became famous because of how it was stolen and because of the stories being told how stories get exaggerated over time.So begins the troublesome journey of doomed Medea and no matter what she has to do, the reader knows that she, ultimately, is a victim of circumstances Because in this ancient world, daughters had to have sex with their fathers if those fathers were kings, they were slaves to get slapped or whipped or raped and given away as if they had no actual value.Medea refuses to be such a slave.Her refusal to bend to society s norms back then dooms her from the start But she is strong And full of rage rage with each new betrayal And smart.It was interesting to see how the author made her be just a woman instead of an actual witch All the mythic things she did, she did through cunning, making a lot up as she went giving the Argonauts visions by feeding them mushrooms for example, knowing that she was only safe from rape if they feared her yup, you read that right right at the beginning, Jason wouldn t have saved her from rape, a regular Prince Charming I liked that It grounded Medea, made her real.Her trials, then, were heartbreaking and absolutely realistic Jason only wanting fame, being weak and not very bright, belittling her, treating her no better than her father had, using her whenever it suits him right up until he casts her and his two sons they have aside for a younger bride another pretty princess as soon as Medea had delivered him from the last bad place they had to endure So she poisons Jason s new wife and her father who feared Medea and was therefore cruel to her and plans to escape, but realistically again things go wrong She refuses to leave her children behind so when the palace guards close in on them, she rather kills her children herself quickly and merciful than what they d have to expect The act is so unbelievable that the guards turn away so she cannot even find solace in death herself.Yes, Medea commits monstrous acts but since we know about what leads to every act, we can absolutely see why she did these things, that she had to do these things and can therefore feel empathy rather than judgement At least I could The author, thus, succeeded in telling the real story of a real women.What makes this retelling so utterly beautiful and almost unbelievably fantastic is the prose I ve never read anything like it The book is only divided into two sections first the flight, then 6 years after Jason and Medea become slaves leading to their childrens deaths , no chapters The lines flow so elegantly, so rhythmically, that chapters would have been ugly interruptions, since one doesn t want to stop reading Every line was intricate and conveyed so much feeling that I could quote than half the book.I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, but will definitely buy the hardcopy of this book I m in love.


  9. says:

    Bright Air Black is lyrical retelling of the story of Jason and Medea, drawing on elements from the Argonautica and Euripides Medea to craft a tale that s at once unique and familiar Book I of David Vann s novel begins in medias res Medea has just killed her brother, and is helping the Argonauts flee from her father Aeetes, which she reflects on as they sail from her home in Colchis to Jason s home in Iolcus, having obtained the Golden Fleece Book II follows Medea as she assists in Jason s ascent to power, before the novel finally culminates in the story s famously tragic and violent conclusion.Vann s Medea is instantly recognizable as the notorious, vengeful priestess that we know from the classics, rage personified But rather than resting on this archetype, Vann goes further Here Medea s rage isn t only portrayed, but thoroughly examined Bright Air Black is analysis than portrait as Vann deconstructs Medea, rationalizing her, humanizing her.Being a feminist and being a fan of classical literature are two facets of my life which are at odds often than not So when I read modern retellings, I m really looking for female characters to be afforded the same depth and quality of narrative voice as their male counterparts have been through the ages In this regard, Bright Air Black is a resounding success Violent, vindictive, impenitent, Medea seems villain than hero And yet Driven by a singular desire for agency, Medea is rendered sympathetic by Vann, almost hauntingly so.Reading Vann s prose is a bit like being suffocated, or being submerged under water Meditative and contemplative but also characterized by a pervasive darkness, this is a story that s both grotesque and spellbinding The fragmented sentences take some getting used to, and this style undoubtedly won t appeal to everyone Admittedly I tend to be wary of novels which deal in experimental prose, because often than not, there s just no reason aside from showcasing the author s skill I didn t find that was the case here I was quickly entranced by the rhythmic cadence of Medea s thoughts, which break like waves crashing relentlessly through this narrative This is a rare example of poetic prose where form and content complement one another masterfully Medea s character is inextricably tied to this terse and fragmentary style of writing Very few authors could pull this off, but Vann does so with aplomb Usually a 5 star rating from me means everyone read this book immediately However, I do get the feeling that this may be a little too niche to recommend to the world at large I d highly recommend reading Euripides Medea or at least reading up on the myth before starting this It s not that the story isn t sufficiently self contained in these pages, but as an interpretation which is character driven than plot driven, it s probably not an ideal starting point.I do want to stress that Bright Air Black is far from perfect The pacing is uneven, far too much time is spent on the voyage from Colchis, the ending is abrupt But these imperfections seem almost appropriate, in a way, because this is a tour de force, electrically charged work whose strength lies in its unapologetically tense and frantic approach This is ultimately a bold and fearless examination of agency, power, and one woman s rage Medea, destroyer of kings.I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Thank you Netgalley, Grove Atlantic, and David Vann.


  10. says:

    Bright Air Black by David Vann2 stars 4 out of 10Some months ago I read Christa Wolf s excellent version of Medea , so I was interested in reading David Vann s re working of the Medea myth.In this book, Vann is retelling the story of Medea and Jason of Jason and the Argonauts , very much from the point of view of Medea but told in the third person and the present tense We are privy to her thoughts and her memories.Vann s writing is extremely vivid He spares the reader little, which means that I found several sections of the book too brutal and gory to enjoy reading However, his poetic language enlivens the reading of this book, especially with the descriptions relating to nature and to the sea.The section that I was most impressed with, was that describing the meeting of Jason and Pelias, and the subsequent events.I appreciate that David Vann has worked hard with this book, but the style and level of descriptive detail of so many violent events doesn t appeal to me I much preferred the Christa Woolf version of this story.Thank you to Grove Atlantic and to NetGalley for an ARC.


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