About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska

The Mountain
(Vintage Books, 2012) 
It's taken me over a week to read this book, which is partly due to the dense content held in 400 plus pages and partly due to my study commitments. When I put it down this morning I was emotionally exhausted. The book deals with expatriate and islander relationships, Pacific art, politics, spiritual beliefs and environmentalism. Set in Papua New Guinea prior to independence it captures the idealism and vibrancy of young intellectuals keen to shake off the shackles of colonialism. At its base is a love story between Dutch photographer Rika and young political activist Aaron, a saltwater man from the Collingwood Bay area. Rika's desire to have a child with Aaron fuels much of the misunderstandings between the two cultures. Simmering in the background is the ever-present threat of sorcery.
   I enjoyed this book despite the fact that it was too long. The pace slowed in the middle.
   The second half of the book is set thirty years later, in contemporary times. It follows the story of Jericho, the hapkas boy who was born on the mountain and later grew up in London with Rika's ex-husband, his natural father.
   Both perspectives were interesting and sensitively handled, but I can't help feeling it could have been chopped back somewhat. If you can cope with long, complicated story lines you may enjoy this one.

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