I am incredibly grateful to Lizzie Masters at Headline, Tinder Press and Bookbridgr for my review copy of Sarah Leipciger’s ‘The Mountain Can Wait’ which was published in hardback on 7th May 2015.
Tom Berry is a fixer. From a dripping tap to a bicycle, Tom can turn his hand to mending anything. However, he isn’t as talented at running his relationships with his grown up children, Curtis and Erin, whom he had been left to bring up alone when his wife Elka disappeared. When Curtis kills a girl in a hit and run accident, Tom’s life running tree planting is seriously affected. Always used to hunting, Tom finds it is his son he is now chasing.
I absolutely loved ‘The Mountain Can Wait’. I’m not sure what I was expecting from this debut novel, but it exceeded my expectations in every way.
The plot is relatively simple, opening with the hit and run accident and in a sense, very little happens after this. Sarah Leipciger turns this simplicity to profound effect. The underlying emotions in the narrative are heart wrenching. I even had to stop reading at about the halfway point to stop myself being overwhelmed. The writing is taut with feeling.
The characterisation is exquisite. At the start of the novel I didn’t particularly warm to Curtis. By the end I felt I needed to take him in my arms and hold him as I felt desperately sorry for him. I was devastated at the sacrifices Tom had to make on Curtis’ behalf too. Tom has to learn that the mountain can wait, but his children can’t. However, I think the most convincing character of all is nature. Sarah Leipciger’s writing is poetic, lyrical and beautiful. Her descriptions are cinematic and evocative without being intrusive. I can see this novel being made into a film.
The themes explored – of parent/child relationships, loyalty, trust and love are woven so intricately that I feel ‘The Mountain Can Wait’ will become a classic returned to by readers time and time again. I was so enthralled by the writing that I read the novel in one day and I’m sure I have missed some of the subtleties and nuances.
‘The Mountain Can Wait’ is fantastic. I defy anyone who reads it not to be moved by it.