Pink Mountain on Locust Island

Jamie Marina Lau. Coffee House, $16.95 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-56689-594-1
In Australian writer Lau’s perceptive debut, an angsty teen misunderstands the actions and intentions of those around her. Monk, 15, lives with her volatile father in the Chinatown of an unnamed city, where “the gutters bulge with sesame oil” and her father’s “voice swells, fattening the timber.” After she starts hanging out with Santa Coy, a moody 19-year-old aspiring artist, Monk’s father, a former art teacher, begins showing Santa Coy’s art to his former colleagues. Monk feels excluded from the bond between the two as they achieve sudden financial success, and grows tired of cleaning up Santa Coy’s messy painting studio. She asks a friend’s mother, Honey, for some voodoo tips, hoping to cast a spell on them (“I’ll tell them, you’re not the kings of the world, you know?”). When Monk’s father is badly beaten by strangers, Monk assumes it is mystical retribution and goes back to Honey, who instructs her to set a woman’s house on fire. Instead, Monk discovers there’s more than paintings behind her father and Santa Coy’s newfound wealth. The immediacy of the terse, somewhat choppy style amplifies Monk’s confusion and emotional turmoil. This inventive work satisfies in its blending of teenage ennui and a fragmented noir aesthetic. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/08/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-7997-5490-9
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