The Mountains We Climb By Accident, the first novel by Montreal writer, poet and occasoional FTB contributor Dawn McSweeney, is a real treat of a book. It would make a great last-minute Christmas gift for someone who likes well-told stories and supporting local talent.
Full disclosure, I’m not just a reader, I was also the book’s editor. So while I may be a biased reviewer, I’m mainly biased because not only is it written by someone local, it’s also unabashedly set in Montreal.
This city serves as a backdrop for our protagonist Talia’s life story, or rather early to almost mid-life story. We jump back and forth with her, landing on key experiences and staying with them a bit, sometimes returning, sometimes not.
This non-chronological narrative approach has an internal logic based on how and when a person remembers certain events. McSweeney explained it to me when I interviewed her a few months ago.
It really works here. The writing is sharp and fast-moving, the characters are believable and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
I generally look for political intrigue or outright sci fi or fantasy when it comes to the fiction I consume and that’s not what this novel offers. The focus here is on Talia’s relationships with romantic partners, family and friends.
Thanks, though, to McSweeney’s storytelling, it kept me interested from start to finish. I can only imagine it will do the same for people who are fans of the genre already.
Dawn McSweeney’s The Mountains We Climb By Accident is solid Montreal-based storytelling and a great first novel-length offering by a local author.