Sophie Cooke: Under The Mountain


The latest addition to my website is Sophie Cooke‘s Under The Mountain, her second and most recent novel. This is another fine novel by the very much underrated Cooke. This is a novel somwhat reminsicent of The Go-Between, in that it involves a child, sick in bed, during the summer holiday, who witnesses a key event. The child is the nine-year old Catherine Farrants. She lives with her parents, George and Natasha, and her older sister, Bernadette (Bernie). Staying with them are their somewhat older cousins, Rosa and Sam and Rosa and Sam’s widowed mother, Ellie. Catherine sees from her sick room Sam with his beloved dog, Julab. However, Sam is furious and jealous because Rosa is having affair with a visiting Spaniard, Humberto. When Julab grabs his sunglasses and won’t let go, Sam throws an urn at him, badly injuring him. The blame falls first on local boys and then on Humberto. Catherine keeps quiet till later, when she is not believed. However, though the plot is important, much of the book is about the tensions, sexual and otherwise, between the various members of the larger family and it is this that Cooke superbly portrays. This is another fine book from Cooke and it is a pity that it is not better known and she seems to have given up novel writing while focussing more on teaching how to write novels.

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