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Monday, December 15, 2014

Audiobook Review: Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones

Title: Fog Island Mountains
Author: Michelle Bailat-Jones
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Tantor/ Audible
Publish Date: November 4, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "What if you could rewrite a tragedy? What if you could give grace to someone s greatest mistake? Huddled beneath the volcanoes of the Kirishima mountain range in southern Japan, also called the Fog Island Mountains, the inhabitants of small town Komachi are waiting for the biggest of the summer's typhoons. South African expatriate Alec Chester has lived in Komachi for nearly forty years. Alec considers himself an ordinary man, with common troubles and mundane achievements until his doctor gives him a terminal cancer diagnosis and his wife, Kanae, disappears into the gathering storm. Kanae flees from the terrifying reality of Alec's diagnosis, even going so far as to tell a childhood friend that she is already a widow. Her willful avoidance of the truth leads her to commit a grave infidelity, and only when Alec is suspected of checking himself out of the hospital to commit a quiet suicide does Kanae come home to face what it will mean to lose her husband. Narrating this story is Azami, one of Komachi's oldest and most peculiar inhabitants, the daughter of a famous storyteller with a mysterious story of her own. A haunting and beautiful reinterpretation of the Japanese kitsune folktale tradition, Fog Island Mountains is a novel about the dangers of action taken in grief and of a belief in healing through storytelling."

My Two Cents:

"Fog Island Mountains" takes place in a small island village in Japan. The story focuses on the residents of this village and their dealings with each other as well as the world changing around them. The story is told by Azami, the descendent of a storyteller who seems to be very different from many others in the village. This story is very atmospheric and in some places, almost like dreamlike, although the subject matter is very heavy. This is a book that I know that I am going to be thinking about for a very long time.

The characters are important in this book but in some places, it almost felt like the way that the characters were written was truly the key to understanding the story fully. Aside from Azami, we also meet Alec, a South African ex-pat, and his wife, who is convinced that he is going to die from his recently diagnosed cancer so she runs away. I really wanted to understand these characters fully. They are definitely complex but I loved the way that the author was able to give us a tiny bit of insight little by little in order to give us the ability to see where they are coming from even if we don't fully understand where they are coming from.

The writing of the book was good. I also enjoyed listening to the audiobook. I think listening to this particular book on audiobook was a little difficult because the stories of the characters and their dealings with each other were so intricate but if you pay close attention, you will be engulfed by this story!



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