I've been eagerly awaiting another book by Daniel Mason since reading The Piano Tuner a few years ago. Mason is a young man with a lot of talent as a great storyteller.
A Far Country is set in an undisclosed country but I would pick Mexico or Brasil or some other Latin American country. It is a raw portrayal of life in a poor rural community where people depend on the arid soil for their livelihood and on rain for their survival. As both fail, the young people have to go to the coastal cities to find jobs and a future. The cities are always the land of milk and honey but the reality far from it.
We meet a family who has lost a son to the city, and his sister who goes off to find him in the firm belief he has made it as a musician.
An arduous journey on the back of a truck, stranger danger and illness is endured just to find the city and her brother. Once she arrives at her cousin's home in a slum the realities of city life sink in. Everyone is struggling just like at home, the rich have the benefits and lifestyle, the poor do all the manual work.
As much as it sounds like a dour story line Mason has an amazing ability to speak in the voice of a young girl with her hopes and dreams in a very believable style. I really enjoyed reading it, there is poignancy and yearning that are universal and it's easy to empathize with the characters and their communities.
Mason is well worth reading, both books are very enjoyable. I hope he publishes again soon.