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FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS: a Novel ~Michelle Bailat-Jones

“…and it is amazing how easily, how quickly really, a person can be turned inside –out and rewritten completely.” (Page 59)

In my life a daughter, wife, mother, social worker, friend died today after a prolonged battle with breast cancer. I am sharing this story about death with her family after the service; it is a profoundly, deeply touching love story integrated with a Japanese folktale – I cried and found release.

From the Advanced Uncorrected Proof copy cover:

“What if you could rewrite a tragedy? What if you could give grace to someone’s greatest mistake?

A haunting and beautiful reinterpretation of the Japanese KITSUNE folk tale tradition, FOG ISLAND MOUNTAIN is a novel about the dangers of action taken in grief and of a belief in healing through storytelling.

Narrating this story is Azami, one of Komachi’s oldest and most peculiar inhabitants, the daughter of a famous storyteller with a mysterious story of her own.

Inhabitants of a small town, Komachi, are waiting for the biggest of the summer’s typhoons, when the cancer diagnosis is received.  South African expatriate Alec Chester has lived in Komachi for nearly forty years, he considers himself an ordinary man, with common troubles and mundane achievements.  His wife, Kanae, disappears into the gathering storm afraid to hear the diagnosis and avoids the truth.”

FOG ISLAND MOUNTAIN is the winner of the Christopher Doheny Award, which recognizes excellence in fiction or nonfiction on the topic of serious illness by a writer who has personally dealt or is dealing with life-threatening illness (either his or her own or that of a close relative or friend).  The judges for the 2013 Christopher Doheny Award included acclaimed writers Dani Shapiro, Meghan O’Rourke, and Ann Hood.

Michelle-Bailat-Jones is a writer and translator.  Her novel FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS won the Christopher Doheny Award from the Center for Fiction in New York City.  She translated Charles Ferdinand Ramuz’s 1927 Swiss classic BEAUTY ON EARTH (2013). She is the reviews editor at the webjournal/Necessary Fiction, and her fiction, poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in a number of journals, including the Kenyon Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Quarterly Conversation, PANK, Spolia Mag, Two Serious Ladies, and The Atticus Review.  Michelle lives in Switzerland.

Michelle Bailat-Jones Twitter

Thank you Lisa at TLC Book Tours – I needed this one; perfect timing. Stunning writing.  Very Highly Recommend

Related:
The Long Goodbye
All Gone
So Far Away
WILD

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9 Responses to “FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS: a Novel ~Michelle Bailat-Jones”

  1. Heather J @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    This sounds like an incredibly moving book. I’m looking forward to reading it myself. Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    Heather J

    I am so drawn in by this book and the mistakes of grief and the healing folktale – an elegant book and worth reading several times
    Thank you for giving me this on the tour – it touched me
    Patricia recently posted..IN DOUBT: A Legal Thriller ~ Drusilla CampbellMy Profile

  2. Sam Juliano Says:

    Another book with a resonating theme for sure, though obviously one must be prepared for some sadness. Personally such stories have traditionally appealed to me, and this award-winner sounds particularly poignant. Again you write with authority and engagement Patricia.
    Sam Juliano recently posted..Caldecott Medal Contender: SequoiaMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Sam,
    I have now read this book 3 times and it calls me back and has more to give – the healing folktale just calls to me

    Thank you once again for your kind words.

    Healing and love toyed with by mistakes….a universal theme for sure and well told here
    Patricia recently posted..IN DOUBT: A Legal Thriller ~ Drusilla CampbellMy Profile

  3. Vicky Says:

    This sounds like a wonderful book; thank you for sharing it with us. We are all, of course, touched by such loss, and this time of year it can be especially poignant. As a hospice and palliative care volunteer as a well as a writer, I see the power of words to help heal, or, at the very least, to help connect.

    Patricia Reply:

    Vicky – Welcome and thank you for your comment

    I have been very interested in the Japanese Healing tales as an art form since reading this story. It is so well crafted and poignant.

    very touching storytelling. I have shared it already at several memorial services.
    Patricia recently posted..IN DOUBT: A Legal Thriller ~ Drusilla CampbellMy Profile

  4. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia — After reading your review, I have to say that I’m in full agreement with Heather, Sam, and Vicky. As such, FOG ISLAND MOUNTAINS has been added to my reading list.

    As always, thank you for your insightful book reviews.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Ahem, you’ve got something…My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie
    Thank you so much for you good words – it is such a story and yet so deeply moves the soul…

    The typhoon is even a pertinent character as having lived though one of those and my neighbor having lost both her parents – there was a real connection in the stories
    Patricia recently posted..IN DOUBT: A Legal Thriller ~ Drusilla CampbellMy Profile

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