Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains

Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains


By (author) Susan Elderkin

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  • Publisher: FOURTH ESTATE LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 216mm 471g
  • Publication date: 2 March 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1841151998
  • ISBN 13: 9781841151991

Product description

Not since Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum has there been such a sparklingly original and exceptional debut by a new writer. Theobald Moon hopes to satiate the yearnings of his hungry soul (and considerable belly) when he leaves south London to start a new life in the Arizona desert. Planting a cactus garden around his mobile home where he can star-gaze and practise yoga, Theo provides a haven of security for his small daughter Josie, weaving around her a gossamer web of fairy stories and belief in an ordered universe. But as his little Jelly-O grows into disaffected adolescence, there are questions she asks which Theo refuses to answer. When the terrible truth emerges, we discover a man whose actions may be reprehensible but who is portrayed with such intelligent humanity that we may find it impossible to condemn him. Bold, quirky and youthful, there is no mistaking Susan Elderkin's voice. Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains is an astonishing debut.

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Author information

Born in 1968, Susan Elderkin has worked as an ice-cream seller, an English teacher in a Slovakian shoe factory and, for the past five years, as a freelance journalist. She lives in London.

Editorial reviews

An impressive if overly self-conscious first novel, rife with imagery and eccentricity. The aptly named Theobald Moon is enormously fat, obsessed with food, lonely, and innocent. He arrives in Arizona from London after his mothers death. The chronicle of Theo's adjustment to his new lifeplanting a garden, making a cowboy friend, practicing yoga, beginning a notebook of fantasy storiesoffers only shaky scaffolding for the gorgeous prose with which Elderkin describes everything Theo encounters, from exotic cactus and wild animals to a mouthwatering list of British sweets. Spliced into the account of Theos first year in the desert is the more recent history of his daughter, Josephine. Annoyingly fey as a small child, she acquires a provocative though slightly nasty edge when she grows into an unhappy adolescent no longer satisfied to hide with Theo (still unprepared for the harsher realities of the local community) in his isolated fairy-tale landscape. Elderkins third intertwining story chronicles the love affair of Eva, who works in a shoe factory in Slovakia, and Tibor, who sells ice cream and may or may not be a felon on the run. Less dependent on literary sleights-of-hand, the Eva & Tibor romance involves the reader more fully than the Theo & Josephine saga. Elderkin, la Michael Cunningham in The Hours, plays out the three narratives in tandem, then reveals their underlying unity. The strings tying the sections together, however, are pretty obvious, and the conclusion feels thin. The real accomplishment here is the richness and detail of her sensory inventiveness.While Elderkins talent and ambition are obvious, her magnificent language sometimes dwarfs the characters and their story. (Kirkus Reviews)