Shelfari edited the description of Sunset over Chocolate Mountains Monday, August 3, 2009.
A sparkling debut in which the lives of an obese Englishman, a Slovakian shoemaker, an ice-cream man, and a young girl converge in the awesome Arizona desert. Susan Elderkin has seized the attention of the international literary world with a brilliant novel that explores our places in the lives of our loved ones, and our place in the universe. Theobald Moon lives in a lonely corner of the Arizona desert, tending his spectacular cactus garden, his tiny mobile home, and his astounding appetite. A refugee from a stifled, cardigan-and-tea-cozy life in south London, Theo has moved to this unfamiliar country and is raising Josephine, who has known no other life than their cheerful yet isolated American one. The only breaks in their peculiar routine come with the visits of a Marlboro Man-like cowboy named Jersey, who has quietly, and for reasons of his own, assumed the role of protector of this little family. Inevitably change upsets the careful course of these lives. Josephine is brought up on Theo's fairy stories and his belief in an ordered universe, but as disaffected youth sets in she starts asking questions about her mysterious birth that Theo refuses to answer. She also faces school for the first time, and her terrifying peers. And when a jangling ice-cream truck finds its way into the desert carrying two ill-fated lovers, one a pregnant Slovakian shoemaker and the other a mysterious ice-cream man, it will usher in the most violent and wonderful upheaval of all. Innovative and accessible, funny and profound, Elderkin's narrative presents characters of startling originality, marked by endearing eccentricities and insights. Their story is about love and responsibility, and the fear and joy such emotions inspire. Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains is a rare and tantalizing first novel.