The Mountain by Paul Yoon [in Library Journal]
Loss and longing cause the men and women in Yoon’s (Once the Shore; Snow Hunters) second collection to move, and often keep moving, sometimes in search of sanctuary, other times seeking escape.
A doctor returns from war to his childhood home where his mother died; damaged strangers briefly share comfort; the loss of a baby disintegrates a couple’s marriage; childhood friends become uncertain of their relationship as adults; an international migrant searches for connection; and a father devotedly follows his peripatetic daughter through the decades. Intertwined with recurring images of adversity and trauma – lost limbs, overwhelming deprivation, irreparable disconnects – are moments of purest joy: hands tenderly hold another’s face, a father’s discovery of a missive scribbled in the margins of an already read book sent by his prodigal child.
Crisscrossing the globe from New York’s Hudson River to Shanghai, Sakhalin Island, Incheon, rural England, and Spain, Yoon proves himself a literary alchemist, transforming tragedy into beauty with deft reminders of our universal connections. Joining such luminaries as Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, and Alice Munro, Yoon has undoubtedly earned membership in the exclusive coterie of today’s finest writers of the short form.