The cold landscape of Northern Canada is the haunting backdrop to this debut novel. The cold seems to seep into the bones of the reader, as the story of Tom Berry and the two children he has raised alone unfolds. Tom is a born loner, and appears perfectly happy in the wilderness necessary to his forestry business. His feelings of satisfaction in the life he has chosen are shattered when Curt, his son, disappears. The police come to Tom hoping he can help them find Curt, because they believe he was involved in a fatal accident late one night, deep in the woods. The hunter instinct in Tom is roused, though he conceals this from the police. He thinks he knows where Curtis would go to hide, if he thought it were necessary. The remoteness of the island off St George would appear ideal, and this is where Tom’s eccentric mother-in-law lives. They have never been close, but Curt could count on her loyalty, if the chips were down. And down they are! The novel looks at Tom’s dilemma. If he finds his wayward son, does he have to surrender him to the law? Whose guilt would be the greater? If Curtis Berry goes to jail, will Tom Berry feel he is serving the same sentence. “all for noting. Because, after all, not one single thing was better.” This narrative is not for all readers, though there is much sensitivity in it, there is also much harshness and cruelty, which does not have universal appeal. This reviewer is left with the feeling (particularly because she has been to the icy St George) that this particular writer will reward readers with a better second novel, one with true understanding of fractured family relationships.
THE MOUNTAIN CAN WAIT
by SARAH LEIPCIGER PUBLISHED by
for a recommended $29.95