A highly original novel about a young woman's journey from shattered youth to self-discovery.
After 10 years in a London prison, Louise Adler (Lulu) is released with only a new alias to rebuild her life. Working a series of dead-end jobs, she carries a past full of secrets: a childhood marked by the violence and madness of her parents, followed by a reckless adolescence. From abandoned psychiatric hospitals to Edwardian-themed casinos, from a brief first love to the company of criminals, Lulu has spent her youth in an ever-shifting landscape of deceit and survival. But when she's awarded an unexpected settlement claim after prison, she travels to the landscape of her childhood imagination, the central African range known as the Mountains of the Moon. There, in the region's stark beauty, she attempts to piece together the fragments of her battered psyche.
Told in multilayered, hallucinatory flashbacks, Mountains of the Moon traces a traumatic youth and explores the journey of a young woman trying to transform a broken life into something beautiful. This dazzling novel from a distinctive new voice is sure to garner the attention of critics and listeners alike.
If you could sum up Mountains of the Moon in three words, what would they be?
What was one of the most memorable moments of Mountains of the Moon?
The clarity of the final scene.
What about Elizabeth Sastre’s performance did you like?
Her reading of this difficult book is absolutely PERFECT! It's so so so right and consistent and intuitive--it's really a brilliant reading. She understood this book perfectly.
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What did you like best about Mountains of the Moon? What did you like least?
The author has an ear for the poetic in the simplest of expressions. She's ambitious, and this is a consciously literary effort. It's working, but it asks a lot of the listener/reader. Important snippets of information go by in a sentence. It's stream of conscious, not as difficult as Ulysses, but requires that kind of attention. When I read from book, I found that I'd missed a lot of important lines when I'd only been listening. It's the kind of book that made me go back and re-read a paragraph once I'd got the gist of what was happening, and I only fully understood what was necessary on the second pass.
What didn’t you like about Elizabeth Sastre’s performance?
I had to stop listening--she read dramatically, and I borrowed the book from the library to see if most of sentences had exclamation points. (They don't.) Part of the narrative is told in the first person voice of a child, and Sartre's performance of the child's voice was particularly difficult to listen to.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
I don't think so. It's a dark world, full of piss, graffiti, violence and detritus. The characters are as dark as the setting.
Any additional comments?
I really wanted to like this one because of its poetry, and I respect the author, but the book didn't hold me.