The Flying Mountain
Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, 2018
In a world that is all too full of realist novels written in undistinguished prose, discernible only by their covers, The Flying Mountain stands out—if for no other reason than that it consists entirely of blank verse. It tells the epic story of two brothers who leave the southwest coast of Ireland on an expedition to Transhimalaya, the land of Kham, and the mountains of eastern Tibet—looking for an untamed, unnamed mountain that represents perhaps the last blank spot on the map. As they advance towards their goal, the brothers find their past, and their rivalry, inescapable. But only one of the brothers will return, and, transformed by his loss, he will start life anew, trying to understand the mystery of love—yet another quest that may prove as impossible.
‘The Flying Mountain has the look, and then the feel, of an epic tale. It is not solely man versus mountain (and elements), but also a tale of brothers, family, Ireland, and love. The family and national history—one of departures—are inescapable; Pad's long years at sea certainly another attempt to go, without getting anywhere. . . . the book and his story closes with him on his brother’s island, an island unto himself. The Flying Mountain is a powerful and well-told story, the verse-like presentation particularly effective. . . . a resounding, and nicely haunting, success.’—Complete Review. Read the full A- review here.
‘Beginning with the death of one brother in the bitter cold of a snowstorm, The Flying Mountain moves back to chart the journey towards this scene, unfolding a haunting tale, epic in scope, bringing together familial and national histories in a tender and powerfully-observed account of brotherly love.’—Seán Hewitt, Irish Times
‘Flying and mountains: this tale mingles apparent weightlessness with the heaviest objects imaginable, for in it mountains take flight. Not simply as a myth or in a dream, but as a fact of life. Anyone who has ever seen the head of a valley shrouded in clouds or glacier-clad peaks riding high above barriers of mist, seemingly cut off from the earth, can attest that, sometimes mountains really do seem to fly.’—Christoph Ransmayr, Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist interview
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