Review: The Mountain Story by Lori Lansens

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*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: The Mountain Story

Author: Lori Lansens

Publisher: Knopf Canda

Publication Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 9780345809025

The Mountain Story

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Five days. Four hikers. Three survivors. From Lori Lansens, author of the national bestsellers Rush Home Road, The Girls and The Wife’s Tale comes a gripping tale of adventure, sacrifice and survival in the unforgiving wilderness of a legendary mountain.
On his 18th birthday, Wolf Truly takes the tramway to the top of the mountain that looms over Palm Springs, intending to jump to his death. Instead he encounters strangers wandering in the mountain wilderness, three women who will change the course of his life. Through a series of missteps he and the women wind up stranded, in view of the city below, but without a way down. They endure five days in freezing temperatures without food or water or shelter, and somehow find the courage to carry on.
Wolf, now a grown man, has never told his son, or anyone, what happened on the mountain during those five days, but he can’t put it off any longer. And in telling the story to his only child, Daniel, he at last explores the nature of the ties that bind and the sacrifices people will make for love. The mountain still has a hold on Wolf, composed of equal parts beauty and terror.

——-

It’s been a while since I’ve read any sort of adventure thriller type story, but this was a great story to reintroduce me to the genre. Lori Lansens has a writing style that sucks you in and puts you right on the mountain with the characters. Her story is full of twists and turns; of heart stopping moments; and of incredible feats of survival. The characters discover unknown wells of strength within themselves. The mountain brings out the best and the worst of each of them, but although it nearly drives them apart, it ultimately brings the group closer than they could have ever imagined.

Wolf has been through so much. He’s a character of incredible mental and emotional strength. He’s a survivor through and through. It’s his experiences, in life and on his many excursions to the mountain that make him a likely leader and guide. But his lack of experience as a person–only just eighteen years old–is thickly perceptible in his outlook on life, his decisions, and his reactions. The Mountain Story is a coming-of-age story for Wolf. He becomes a man on that mountain, discovering more about himself, and about the other people in in life, than he ever thought possible.

You’ll have your heart in your throat reading this one. Lori Lansens writes quite an intense tale. It’s incredibly moving and exposes the truth of humanity: who are we at our best and our absolute worst. How much can the human mind and body really suffer? What does it take to survive. The Mountain Story explores themes of life, death, suicide, loss, anger, poverty, and growing up. Lansens explores memory as well. Our memories haunt us, but they can also inspire us. Wolf is swamped with memories of his past and how they lead to the very moment of this story. As he explores his memory deeper and deeper, he comes to understand himself more and begins to grow.

Overall, a really excellent story. I hope you’ll give Lansens’ new story a try.

Funky Cover Friday

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is probably on of my favourite stories of all time. I love the chaos and the absurdity. I’m also a huge fan of the various Penguin Classics covers, this one included. I had to show this one off. It’s so eye catching and brings to light one of the pivotal moments of the book.

7181829Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass | Lewis Carroll
Penguin Classics | 2009 (originally 1865) | ISBN 9780141192468

Do you have a favourite Penguin Classics cover?

 

Classic Weekend: The Invisible Man

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The Invisible Man | H. G. Wells 


I’ve always been a huge fan of H. G. Wells, having studied him a bit in university. I decided it was high time for me to spend some more time reading more of his works. I picked up The Invisible Man from the library last week and spent my weekend reading. Although on the regular, I’m not a huge fan of Science Fiction, there’s something about Wells that does it for me.

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Best line: “I am the Invisible Man.”

The Invisible Man was first released as a serial in 1897, and I can just imagine the excitement that it would have cause among readers. Although in today’s day and age it might read slightly hokey, it’s still fast-paced, violent, and speaks to a greater terror of the time: the fear of technology and fear of the unknown. The Invisible Man is invisible due to scientific experimentation gone awry. Written in a time at the cusp of huge technological change, Wells identifies the very real fear that many experienced at the unknown developments.

Favourite Cover:

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Review: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

12736167Title: The Sisters Brothers

Author: Patrick DeWitt

Publisher: House of Anansi

Publication Date: 2011

ISBN: 9781770890329

The Sisters Brothers

 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Hermann Kermit Warm is going to die. Eli and Charlie Sisters can be counted on for that. Though Eli has never shared his brother’s penchant for whiskey and killing, he’s never known anything else. On the road to Warm’s gold-mining claim outside San Francisco — and from the back of his long-suffering one-eyed horse — Eli struggles to make sense of his life without abandoning the job he’s sworn to do.

—–

I’ve been told on a few occasions that I need to read The Sisters Brothers. I love checking out garage sales and library sales for cheap old books, and I managed to pick up a used copy of DeWitt’s novel last fall. It’s been hanging around on my to-read shelf since then, but having one other friend tell me that I had to read this book, motivated me (finally!) to pick my copy off the shelf. The Sisters Brothers is unlike any other story that I’ve read, mainly because I rarely, if ever, read books about the gold rush. DeWitt’s characterization and careful description of the Wild West has motivated me to pursue this era in literature a bit further.

The Wild West is a setting where anything and everything can happen. It creates the perfect setting for a dangerous story with characters that experience profound change over the course of time. It’s essentially a country-wide free-for-all wherein societal rules and norms that exist in nearly all other settings, are discarded and characters are free to move and act as they wish, with little consequence. This makes for a tense, incredibly fast-paced story full of near death experiences, where survival of the fittest is the truest mantra of the era.

Eli and Charlie are the infamous Sisters brothers. They’re hired to complete the Commodore’s bidding, killing those who the Commodore deems to be thieves or betrayers. They are widely known and feared and are not to be outwitted. The story is told from Eli’s perspective, an interesting and likely choice as he is a character more of observation rather than action. Charlie is the more dominant of the two brothers. He takes the position of the lead hunter again and again while Eli is often sidelined and given the “grunt work” type tasks. But Eli is very complex. He’s careful and thoughtful. He’s often contemplative, and is quite discontented by the life that they’re living. His character experience extreme growth and change throughout the duration of the story as his priorities shift to desiring a more permanent, honest line of work.

I will say that with the number of awards won/the number of shortlists made, I was expecting a lot more. Being my first Western, I was thoroughly entertained, but I wouldn’t exactly say it’s award winning. It is a violent and gritty story, definitely worth a read. But if you’re caught up in the hype surrounding DeWitt’s story, I’d say it falls somewhat short of the expectation.

Funky Cover Friday

 

The cover on this edition of Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See appeals to my love of beautiful, artistic covers. I love images that I want to frame. The colours in this are attractive and eye catching. The hombre effect of the lettering helps to offset the text from the image behind. This cover is alight with movement, created by the colours. It’s so vibrant.

13573378Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See | Juliann Garey | Soho Press | 2012 | ISBN 9781616951290