Black Mountain by Carol Chandler, Ginninderra Press 2017, was launched by Colleen Keating at Better Read Than Dead Bookshop, Newtown, on 6 August
Firstly I invite a pause for us to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, on which we gather and to pay respect for Elders past and present.
What a gathering in this wonderful environment of books and music and art, and what a great honour for Carol that you have taken the time to be with her to celebrate.
Most of you would be aware writing is a lonely trek, a long haul, a footslog, an odyssey. Sometimes lost in the bush, sometimes all at sea, sometimes desert-dry, sometimes energising but mostly a solitary and gruelling task. As a writing community we appreciate that, and we are here to honour the loneliness of the long distance writer and to celebrate Carol’s successful outcome. And what an outcome.
Black Mountain is a psychological thriller – and what a thriller. What a journey! We are taken by the narrator, Sarah, into the back waters of a country area, a place up in the hills not far from the coast in a lonely desolate ‘neck of the woods’. Sarah, a teacher has escaped from this town and this life, but on, page one, she is drawn back into its eerie world trying to make sense of the past and find out what really happened to her brother Liam who died in a house fire. By page eight we are woven into the mystery and, for us, there is no return .
You and I know how easy it is to get caught back into the dark web of our past, – into the tangle of relatives, families , friends. . . where there are all the hurts and intrigues, suicide, murders, lovers, drugs and especially secrets, lies and cover ups.
People are watching …..the threat of dogs always in the background..… the sharpness of the knife edge that glints in the moon light……. that scary feeling you are being followed and that strand of foreshadowing…. and of course the world of gossip.
Even when we escape to the coast, the ocean doesn’t give us reprieve, not even a breather. We are kept in the dark web of intrigue.
Carol has given us a thriller. Everyone loves a good mystery…… but here there is the added complexity of human psychology, what’s beneath the surface in human action and reaction .
The pivotal characters Freya and Tyler and the mystery of Lola a young girl who has disappeared, gives us a sense of place and how that connects with identity.
And with the pains of the past that hold their secrets and hold us in their mystery, we become caught in the struggle and search for meaning.
What is it all about? ……. We are immersed in a thriller . . . a metaphor for life, where the questions materialise at every turn, but the answers are just beyond our grasp.
The many characters, that fill this small world of intrigue, even Aden and Radic and the dogs Nero and Jet and the mountain all are colourful and well formed. One could possibility recognise archetypes from Carl Jung’s collective unconscious but this is held lightly, This is not a philosophy book, it is a short psychological thriller to take to bed, or curl up one rainy afternoon and enjoy an escape for a few hours.
Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter says: “Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” and Black Mountain has the magic of a good read.
I congratulate Carol and proudly declare Black Mountain launched.
Black Mountain is available from https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/store.php?product/page/1373/%2A+Carol+Chandler+%2F+Black+Mountain
Colleen Keating. belongs to the Women Writers Network that meets every Wednesday at the NSW Writers Centre in Roselle . Her collection of poetry, A Call to Listen is available from Grinninderra Press and her second collection, Fire on Water, is forthcoming from the same publisher. Colleen can be found at http://colleenkeatingpoet.com.au/