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Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains

by Susan Elderkin

You can feel the dry heat of the desert burning off the page in this descriptive first novel with a clever twist. What connects the handsome ice cream selling Slovakian couple to the overweight Englishman living among the Arizona cacti with his small daughter Josephine?

Extract

My father is shining a torch ahead of him on to the path, as he has taught me to do, and we pick our way behind it, trying not to catch our clothes on the spikes of the prickly pears. Wide eyes appear in the beam of light for a second and then are gone. Ahead of us, something larger scuffles and snorts through the undergrowth, a flash of white flank, but my father doesn't notice: he is too intent on reaching the slab of granite that sleeps like an enormous guard dog at the bottom of our garden. He scrambles up, then pulls me up behind him, loose bits of grit digging into my palms and knees. Once on top we hold hands, my fingers swamped in the hot clammy folds of his. ... The rock is our look out tower, lifting us up off the desert floor and into the realms of the sky. From here we have an unbroken view over the valley floor and all the way to the mountains, hulking on the skyline like creeping thieves with bags of swag slung over their shoulders. A slice of white moon dangles above them, fine as a fingernail paring.

Parallels

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
 

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