Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Review: The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger

The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger

Publication date: 7th May, 2015
Published by: Tinder Press, Headline
Genre: Literature, Fiction
Stars: 4 ****

The Blurb

Set in a stunning but scared Canadian landscape, The Mountain Can Wait is a story of fathers and sons and the heartache they cause each other, in the tradition of Annie Proulx.

Tom Berry has always been a loner, a man content to live out his days in the wilderness with just enough ammunition and kerosene to last out the winter. A single father, he has raised his children with the same quiet and absolute dedication he brings to his forestry business, but now he's discovering that might not have been enough.

When his son, Curtis, on the brink of adulthood, disappears after a tragic accident, it falls to Tom, the hunter, to track him down. Whether he can truly reach Curtis is another matter.

My Thoughts

The majority of this story is set deep in the mountains of British Columbia in Canada. It's a story about the struggles of a family Tom Berry and his children. Tom is father to Curtis and Erin and his wife walked out on him when their daughter was just a baby. Since then Tom has had to raise his children on his own whilst running his forestry business. He is a dedicated family man and committed to his company which plants trees in areas that have been damaged by logging companies.

The story starts out with Tom's son Curtis hitting a young girl on a country road one night whilst driving home from a party that they had both be at. When he realises what he has done, Curtis panics and instead of facing up to hit he flees leaving the girl to die in a ditch. The story then follows what happens after that fateful night.

The Mountain Can Wait is a haunting tale set against the stark backdrop of a mountain wilderness. On the surface there isn't really a lot to this book but there is something about Sarah Leipciger's writing that grabs you and puts you right in, immersing you in Tom's life as he begins to understand the trouble that his son is in.

Tom has never really been a man for feelings and whilst his children have been brought up learning all the practical skills they should need such as hunting they've never really had the emotional support. He's tried his best for his children and has always done right by his employees but ultimately Tom is a loner who feels most at peace when he's alone in the mountains. It's Tom's lack of emotions that means when Curtis comes to see him after the hit and run that means Tom just can't see that his son is in trouble. Curtis with noone to turn to leaves town and goes in to hiding leaving Tom the difficult task of trying to find him before the police do.

This is a depressing read due to the subject matter but there's a little glimpse of hope by the time the story finishes that left me satisfied and glad to have read the book. A great debut from an author that I will certainly read again.

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