The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska

The Mountain

By Drusilla Modjeska

  • Release Date: 2012-05-01
  • Genre: Art & Architecture
Score: 4
From 13 Ratings
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'A novel as intricate and powerful as the bark-cloth paintings at its heart' - Anna Funder

In 1968 Papua New Guinea is on the brink of independence, and everything is about to change. Amidst the turmoil filmmaker Leonard arrives from England with his Dutch wife, Rika, to study and film an isolated village high in the mountains. The villagers' customs and art have been passed down through generations, and Rika is immediately struck by their paintings on a cloth made of bark.

Rika and Leonard are also confronted with the new university in Moresby, where intellectual ambition and the idealism of youth are creating friction among locals such as Milton - a hot-headed young playwright - and visiting westerners, such as Martha, to whom Rika becomes close. But it is when Rika meets brothers Jacob and Aaron that all their lives are changed for ever.

Drusilla Modjeska's sweeping novel takes us deep into this fascinating, complex country, whose culture and people cannot escape the march of modernity that threatens to overwhelm them. It is a riveting story of love, loss, grief and betrayal.


  • Interesting but tiresome.

    By Veroharr
    The Mountain deals with an interesting period in the history of New Guinea as it struggles for independence in a changing world. The author attempts to develop a sense of cultural disparity pitting the old ways against an emerging culture replete with Western influence. Despite this, I did find the narrative rather tedious at times and the characters a little nondescript. The read left me dissatisfied. It was a personal struggle to finish this book.