Friday, February 1, 2013

A Far Country | Daniel Mason

I've been waiting for Mason to write another book after reading The Piano Tuner a few years ago. I was so pleased when I found his second novel.

It couldn't be further removed from his first work which was set in Burma. A Far Country is set in...a far country! We are not told specifically where it is but to me it feels like a country in South America, Brazil or maybe Peru.
It doesn't really matter because of the way Mason describes it and makes us feel like we've been there, that we recognise the landscape. I found this really clever and caught me off guard a little as the story felt familiar whistle being totally new.

Basically it's the story of a struggling family who live in the countryside, far away from the big city. The way out of poverty for many is to send their young people to live and work in the city and send home the money they earn. This migration of youth in turn makes the rural areas poorer as there is no new generation coming though to work the farms.

One young man goes to the city and his sister who is left behind is devastated by the loss so decides to go and find her brother.  We journey with her to the city and discover it through her overwhelming experiences. The size and noise, the shattered dreams once she figures out cities are not rich and not everyone works and the realisation she has no way of finding her brother.

This is a beautifully written book, worth reading, as is Mason's first book The Piano Tuner (which he wrote while still a student at University).

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