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Venero Armanno

UQP (2012)

ISBN: 978 0 7022 3915 1

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

Brisbane writer and academic Venero Armanno returns to his family’s roots in Sicily again for his latest novel, Black Mountain. Armanno, who won the now defunct Queensland Premier’s Literary Award in 2002 with The Volcano, describes his latest as speculative fiction, and rightly so, though the speculative elements are a slow build.

Black Mountain opens with Mark, living an isolated life on the coast, more in love with books than people, who is set on a short detective trail when he finds out a creature from his dreams has also appeared in a novel published many years before. This leads him to Cesare Montenero, a Sicilian writer whose story takes up the bulk of Black Mountain, told as a biography. Cesare started his life as a child labourer in brutal sulphur mines before escaping and being raised in a far more genteel manner by Don Domenico Amati.

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