Wednesday 22 May 2024

Moon Road by Sarah Leipciger #MoonRoad @SarahLeipciger @DoubledayUK #BookReview


Kathleen and Yannick have not spoken for nineteen years, not since what happened with their daughter.

Now, there’s unexpected news from the other side of the country, and the call for a road trip they can only make together.

As they rattle over two thousand miles in a pick-up, through forests, over mountains and into service stations, an alluring history reveals itself: of fierce love, complicated ex-wives and headstrong children, and of a unique bond that never really went away.

As they drive, argue, gossip and reminisce, an unexpected future for this once estranged couple begins to emerge.

MOON ROAD captures the wonder and grief of watching our children grow up; of recovering from long buried pain, and rediscovering those closest to us when we think we know all there is to know; and of learning to live and love in a completely new way.

Moon Road by Sarah Leipciger was published on 16 May 2024 by Doubleday. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

Moon Road is an exquisitely written novel. It is totally character led, and what amazing characters these two are. The sense of place is just incredible, the vast landscapes of Canada experienced during an extraordinary land trip. It is atmospheric and beautifully done. 

Kathleen and Yannick married young and had a daughter Una. Although they separated, their daughter was their link, until the day that Una disappeared. Una has been missing for well over twenty years now and Kathleen and Yannick have not spoken to each other for the past nineteen years.  However, they've received information that human bones have been discovered, the only way that they could identify these as being Una is for Kathleen to give a DNA sample.  

Kathleen and Yannick meet for the first time in many years. It is a strange meeting, they are older, years have past and Yannick wants to travel the thousands of miles across Canada to the site where the bones were found. 

Kathleen is a complex, multi layered character. She is happiest on her own, tending to the flowers in her garden that she sells wholesale. Her interactions with others are usually blunt and verging on rude. Her very few friends seem to be fond of her, yet she often treats them with disdain. Yannick is a serial husband, since Kathleen, he has gone on to marry a few times and is a father again. He's not a great husband and a dubious father figure too. These are two people, always tied together by loss who have struggled with life for many years.  The thought of spending days together, in a truck, on what could be a journey with no answers is daunting, but they decide to do it. 

Readers are also given a glimpse into their earlier lives, concentrating on Kathleen's relationship with daughter Una and the events leading up to her disappearance. Kathleen, and the reader, will often contemplate her mothering skills, what she did wrong, what could have been different, how things may have changed. 

Alongside the main story, we hear from an anonymous character, although it is easy to understand who that may be. Those parts are often quite dream like, the narrator may not be reliable, but it's another depth to this stunning story. 

This author took me on an incredible journey alongside two of the most cleverly created characters that I've met in many years. Her description of place and location is perfect, from the vast roads through Canada, to the small run-down towns and diners, the the first sight of the imposing mountains. It really is so beautifully put together. 

Moon Road is a tough read at times, Kathleen is a difficult to like character. However, it is an engrossing delve into a relationship that has included falling in love, separation and reconciliation. Highly recommended. 

Born and raised in Canada, Sarah Leipciger lives in London with her three children. 

She is Associate Lecture in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University and also teaches at City Lit London. 
Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Asham Award, the Fish Prize and the Bridport Prize. 

She is the author of the critically acclaimed THE MOUNTAIN CAN WAIT (2015) and COMING UP FOR AIR (2020). MOON ROAD is her third novel.

X @SarahLeipciger

IG @sarahleipcigerwrites

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