Wednesday, 6 June 2012

After Brock by Paul Binding

 review by Maryom

18 year old Nat Kempsey has been missing on the Berwyn mountains for 5 days. Home safe after a police helicopter rescue, Nat's adventures have rekindled memories of his father Pete's similar experience back in the 70s - but the reasons behind the two events couldn't be more different. Infatuated by his charismatic but volatile friend Sam, Pete had gone along on a midnight dash looking for UFOs- a trip that was to end in physical and emotional disaster- the memories of which he's tried to repress. Under the probing of a local journalist it soon becomes apparent that Nat's disappearance was maybe not so accidental.

The Berwyn mountains are a strange other worldly place associated in Welsh myth with the entrance to the underworld Annwn. For both Nat and Pete the ascent of the cliff by Pistyll Rhaeadr Waterfall to reach the open moorland above represents a physical and emotional high. Here they discover a place to be at peace with oneself and at one with nature - the world waiting for them after the descent is not so kindly or forgiving.

After Brock is an interesting, enjoyable read from a 'new-to-me' author, dealing with teenage relationships with peers and parents, the struggle of finding oneself among conflicting opinions and 'becoming a man'. Both Pete and Nat are portrayed at turning points of their lives; the time spent in the mountains being almost a rite of passage into adulthood. It look me a while to 'warm' to either of these characters though my sympathy for Pete increased as the true nature of his devastating loss became apparent.
A lot of the story is told as a flashback to Pete's teenage years and there's rather a nostalgic look at the 70s - at an era I thought I remembered, but, from the amount of things that surprised me, obviously not too well. One thing left me really puzzled though - where have all the UFOs gone? I haven't heard of any for years!

Maryom's review -  3.5 stars
Publisher - SerenBooks

Genre -  adult fiction

Buy After Brock from Amazon

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