Standing as a metaphorical sentinel, a glowing mountain protects a post colonial African outpost from the 21st century and the cold wind of change it threatens to brings with it. Esteemed author Pieter is the physical presence in tune with the spirituality of his environment but the dreamer fears the nightmare of a disintegrating family life which could shatter his tropical idyll.
A suffocating blanket of heat presses down on characters whose lives appear to drift in a genteel torpor of concerts and pool parties reminiscent of the dying embers of the RAJ when civilised ennui filled the days of the privileged elite. But it is the leonine Riaan, son of the guilded writer, whose prowling presence wrestles the story into life. A natural predator with a divisive charisma, able to inspire both guileless devotion and base hatred, who nevertheless finds an emotional Achilles in his growing friendship with Nicholas.
The writing style is immersive, tactile and uncomfortable with heat, dust and the power of the elements dominating the natural and personal landscape. Fire is the perennial threat in a land bereft of water and taunted by the sun and it is this combustible environment that reflects the relationship of Nicholas and Riaan as they disappear into the desert on a journey that is both physically uncomfortable and emotionally revealing.
The real and imagined burn into the subconscious with corrosive intent as Pieter, Riaan and Nicholas tip toe around the truth of their relationships and the glue that holds them to a mountain that gives life and blurs reality. The hypnotic allure of this remote land drives Pieter on to complete his latest book which is ultimately more wishful memoir than fictional blockbuster.
- Rich Reviews rating: