By Night the Mountain Burns

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9781908276407: By Night the Mountain Burns

This novel tells of childhood on a remote island off the west African coast. Superstition dominates in dark times and the hard-pressed islanders sacrifice their possessions to the enraged ocean. What of their lives will they save?

Both lyrical and unsparingly truthful, this novel draws on oral storytelling to illuminate a little-known corner of Africa.

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel was born in 1966 in Equatorial Guinea. By Night the Mountain Burns is based on his memories of growing up on the remote Annobón Island. He made headlines in 2011 by embarking on a hunger strike in an anti-government protest.


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About the Author:

Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel: Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel was born in 1966 in Equatorial Guinea. By Night The Mountain Burns is based on his memories of growing up on the remote island of Annobón.
He made headlines in 2011 by embarking on a hunger strike, in an anti-government protest. He now lives exiled in Barcelona.
Jethro Soutar: Jethro Soutar translates from Spanish and Portuguese. He has translated Argentinian and Brazilian crime novels, written two non-fiction books of his own, and recently co-edited The Football Crónicas, a collection of football writing from Latin America. He divides his time between London and Lisbon.

Review:

"Poignant....This fascinating story emerges from the speaker’s inquiries into the identities and social laws of his community, and from his attempts to make sense of the calamities of his homeland." Publishers Weekly

"Ávila Laurel’s novel tells of survival in fierce isolation, a place where the ocean provides the only horizon and is a source of the greatest hopes and the most awful fears." Alfonso Carnicero Izquierdo

"It has fallen to Ávila Laurel to be the chronicler of Annobón, just as Derek Walcott is for St Lucia, VS Naipaul for Trinidad and Edwidge Danticat is for Haiti. To this list must now be added the name of Annobón, half-evoked and half-dreamed in Ávila Laurel’s unique language." JM Pedrosa

"The Equatorial Guinean novel that has perhaps captivated me the most is By Night The Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel. It is a story of great mystery, but also a testimonial to life on Annobón Island. This real-life island seems to emerge from the sea like some Atlantic legend, but the harsh conditions to which the islanders have been subjected mean we’re a long way from charming tales of mariners and mermaids. In these large-leaved green forests, the horror stories are all too real" Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, El País

"Reading [By Night the Mountain Burns], it’s hard not to feel the excitement that comes with discovering a great author; the rare exhilaration that strikes once every few hundred books ... It is the perfectly pitched tone, however, and the simplicity of the recounting that make it a truly polished work ... The result is a luminous tapestry of people reacting in different ways to the assaults of natural catastrophes, accidents and economic hardship." Patricia Duffaud, The Bookbag

"[B]eautifully translated by Jethro Soutar ... it weaves and digresses, adding a rich texture to the story. Like all the best stories it is one with humour, sadness, tragedy and mystery." Jo Harding, We Love This Book

"A fascinating tale ... Worth picking up for those interested in an unusual read." Buzz

"[R]eads a bit like a short story ... An episode swells and lapses, another swells in turn ... All are related in the same clear, sparse voice." Angus Sutherland, The Skinny

"By Night’s unpredictability yields moments of bliss, but there are horrors to be found as well. Ávila Laurel summons up the intimate details of a small society with mesmerizing precision and structure. ... [B]oth absurdly funny and abundantly detailed." Tobias Carroll, Barnes and Noble

"Heartfelt...Ávila Laurel has given us a fascinating insight into the struggles, setbacks and occasional triumphs of daily life on the island of Annobón and his limpid tale is only enhanced by the crystal-clear translation of Jethro Soutar." New Internationalist

"Ávila Laurel weaves a fascinating tale of island life, poverty and isolation ... enchanting and absorbing ... It is a fabulous book and one that has been expertly translated. Well worth a read." Booktrust

"The volcanic island of Annobón, off the west African coast, provides the setting for this novel about a poor community facing a series of natural disasters. Survival, hope and despair wrestle in this surprising work by Equatorial Guinea’s leading author." Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times (Chosen as 1 of 7 Translated Books of the Year 2014)

"Annobón, where Ávila Laurel was born, is a remote island in the south Atlantic forming part of the nation of Equatorial Guinea. His fictionalised account of his childhood there employs a striking voice, adult revisionism of his child’s-eye perspective, trying to make sense of a culture where the primitive – bartering is still preferred to money – rubs up against the intrusions of the industrialised world." Jonathan Ruppin Foyles Bookshop

"Sometimes a novel will startle because it tackles a topic totally unknown to us or tells us of lives previously un-imagined. This is the case with By Night the Mountain Burns. However, what is most remarkable about Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel’s novel is how easy it is to slip into the story of a child growing up on an isolated island in Equatorial Guinea. We are not reading about mysterious ‘others’. We’re reading about people like ourselves, who live in a different place which has its own constraints – namely poverty and isolation." The Bookbag (Chosen as 1 of top 10 literary fiction books of 2014)

"[A] melodic text rife with images of hollowed canoes and mist-enveloped mountains that would be almost too mythical were it not for the hilarious commentaries of the speaker ... Laurel’s novel entrances the reader with its vibrant sense of place ... Reading By Night the Mountain Burns is like listening to an old man tell a story that is so clear to him that his eyes look out through his child self onto a world he no longer inhabits ... It is not a text of voyeurism or tourism; it is a text for remembering together." Emma Schneider, Full Stop
"[The novel's] strength lies in the complexity of the social commentary that runs beneath the plot...That is where the novel is at its best, in incisively exposing the difficulties with cultural transmission, interpretation and ownership...the novel isn’t about escapism, about disappearing into another world, it has to be understood and considered socially. That is where it shines." The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Ávila Laurel is a brave opponent of the corrupt Obiang regime in his native land. His dark, troubled narrative of “our Atlantic Ocean island” is remarkable, original and poetic." Tom Moriarty, Irish Times
"[H]ere a delightfully candid, deceptively sober narrative voice weaves brief histories of a collective existence shaped by living on the shores of a sea that does not (or will not?) provide sufficient sustenance." IFFP Judge Helen Oyeyemi, Booktrust

"[A] leading light of the Equatorial Guinean literature movement, whose novel By Night the Mountain Burns tells of a childhood on a remote west African island." IFFP Longlist Announcement, The Guardian


"Poignant....This fascinating story emerges from the speaker’s inquiries into the identities and social laws of his community, and from his attempts to make sense of the calamities of his homeland." Publishers Weekly

"Ávila Laurel’s novel tells of survival in fierce isolation, a place where the ocean provides the only horizon and is a source of the greatest hopes and the most awful fears." Alfonso Carnicero Izquierdo

"It has fallen to Ávila Laurel to be the chronicler of Annobón, just as Derek Walcott is for St Lucia, VS Naipaul for Trinidad and Edwidge Danticat is for Haiti. To this list must now be added the name of Annobón, half-evoked and half-dreamed in Ávila Laurel’s unique language." JM Pedrosa

"The Equatorial Guinean novel that has perhaps captivated me the most is By Night The Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel. It is a story of great mystery, but also a testimonial to life on Annobón Island. This real-life island seems to emerge from the sea like some Atlantic legend, but the harsh conditions to which the islanders have been subjected mean we’re a long way from charming tales of mariners and mermaids. In these large-leaved green forests, the horror stories are all too real" Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón, El País

"Reading [By Night the Mountain Burns], it’s hard not to feel the excitement that comes with discovering a great author; the rare exhilaration that strikes once every few hundred books ... It is the perfectly pitched tone, however, and the simplicity of the recounting that make it a truly polished work ... The result is a luminous tapestry of people reacting in different ways to the assaults of natural catastrophes, accidents and economic hardship." Patricia Duffaud, The Bookbag

"[B]eautifully translated by Jethro Soutar ... it weaves and digresses, adding a rich texture to the story. Like all the best stories it is one with humour, sadness, tragedy and mystery." Jo Harding, We Love This Book

"A fascinating tale ... Worth picking up for those interested in an unusual read." Buzz

"[R]eads a bit like a short story ... An episode swells and lapses, another swells in turn ... All are related in the same clear, sparse voice." Angus Sutherland, The Skinny

"By Night’s unpredictability yields moments of bliss, but there are horrors to be found as well. Ávila Laurel summons up the intimate details of a small society with mesmerizing precision and structure. ... [B]oth absurdly funny and abundantly detailed." Tobias Carroll, Barnes and Noble

"Heartfelt...Ávila Laurel has given us a fascinating insight into the struggles, setbacks and occasional triumphs of daily life on the island of Annobón and his limpid tale is only enhanced by the crystal-clear translation of Jethro Soutar." New Internationalist

"Ávila Laurel weaves a fascinating tale of island life, poverty and isolation ... enchanting and absorbing ... It is a fabulous book and one that has been expertly translated. Well worth a read." Booktrust

"The volcanic island of Annobón, off the west African coast, provides the setting for this novel about a poor community facing a series of natural disasters. Survival, hope and despair wrestle in this surprising work by Equatorial Guinea’s leading author." Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times (Chosen as 1 of 7 Translated Books of the Year 2014)

"Annobón, where Ávila Laurel was born, is a remote island in the south Atlantic forming part of the nation of Equatorial Guinea. His fictionalised account of his childhood there employs a striking voice, adult revisionism of his child’s-eye perspective, trying to make sense of a culture where the primitive – bartering is still preferred to money – rubs up against the intrusions of the industrialised world." Jonathan Ruppin Foyles Bookshop

"Sometimes a novel will startle because it tackles a topic totally unknown to us or tells us of lives previously un-imagined. This is the case with By Night the Mountain Burns. However, what is most remarkable about Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel’s novel is how easy it is to slip into the story of a child growing up on an isolated island in Equatorial Guinea. We are not reading about mysterious ‘others’. We’re reading about people like ourselves, who live in a different place which has its own constraints – namely poverty and isolation." The Bookbag (Chosen as 1 of top 10 literary fiction books of 2014)

"[A] melodic text rife with images of hollowed canoes and mist-enveloped mountains that would be almost too mythical were it not for the hilarious commentaries of the speaker ... Laurel’s novel entrances the reader with its vibrant sense of place ... Reading By Night the Mountain Burns is like listening to an old man tell a story that is so clear to him that his eyes look out through his child self onto a world he no longer inhabits ... It is not a text of voyeurism or tourism; it is a text for remembering together." Emma Schneider, Full Stop
"[The novel's] strength lies in the complexity of the social commentary that runs beneath the plot...That is where the novel is at its best, in incisively exposing the difficulties with cultural transmission, interpretation and ownership...the novel isn’t about escapism, about disappearing into another world, it has to be understood and considered socially. That is where it shines." The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Ávila Laurel is a brave opponent of the corrupt Obiang regime in his native land. His dark, troubled narrative of “our Atlantic Ocean island” is remarkable, original and poetic." Tom Moriarty, Irish Times
"[H]ere a delightfully candid, deceptively sober narrative voice weaves brief histories of a collective existence shaped by living on the shores of a sea that does not (or will not?) provide sufficient sustenance." IFFP Judge Helen Oyeyemi, Booktrust

"[A] leading light of the Equatorial Guinean literature movement, whose novel By Night the Mountain Burns tells of a childhood on a remote west African island." IFFP Longlist Announcement, The Guardian

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Book Description And Other Stories, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. By Night The Mountain Burns recounts the narrator s childhood on a remote island off the West African coast, living with his mysterious grandfather, several mothers and no fathers. We learn of a dark chapter in the island s history: a bush fire destroys the crops, then hundreds perish in a cholera outbreak. Superstition dominates: now the islanders must sacrifice their possessions to the enraged ocean god. What of their lives will they manage to save? Whitmanesque in its lyrical evocation of the island, Avila Laurel s writing builds quietly, through the oral rhythms of traditional storytelling, into gripping drama worthy of an Achebe or a Garcia Marquez. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9781908276407

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Book Description And Other Stories, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. By Night The Mountain Burns recounts the narrator s childhood on a remote island off the West African coast, living with his mysterious grandfather, several mothers and no fathers. We learn of a dark chapter in the island s history: a bush fire destroys the crops, then hundreds perish in a cholera outbreak. Superstition dominates: now the islanders must sacrifice their possessions to the enraged ocean god. What of their lives will they manage to save? Whitmanesque in its lyrical evocation of the island, Avila Laurel s writing builds quietly, through the oral rhythms of traditional storytelling, into gripping drama worthy of an Achebe or a Garcia Marquez. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9781908276407

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Book Description And Other Stories, United Kingdom, 2014. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. By Night The Mountain Burns recounts the narrator s childhood on a remote island off the West African coast, living with his mysterious grandfather, several mothers and no fathers. We learn of a dark chapter in the island s history: a bush fire destroys the crops, then hundreds perish in a cholera outbreak. Superstition dominates: now the islanders must sacrifice their possessions to the enraged ocean god. What of their lives will they manage to save? Whitmanesque in its lyrical evocation of the island, Avila Laurel s writing builds quietly, through the oral rhythms of traditional storytelling, into gripping drama worthy of an Achebe or a Garcia Marquez. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9781908276407

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