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Mountaintop USA

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As a comet is about to pass by Earth, the people of who live in Mountaintop learn that their location will be perfect for viewing the icy orb. The quirky residents gather together with their telescopes to gaze at the comet and have a party. To their surprise, the night will be illuminated by revelations.
The town of Mountaintop is populated with chess players, astronomy enthusiasts, runners, and donut lovers. Roots run deep in the peculiar town and the history that formed the fabric of the chilly mountain community is shared through chapters that alternate with the America of the early 1990's. A tangled web connects experiences from the past with life in the present and as relationships are explored, the town's undercurrents begin to bubble to the surface.
The Comet Terrapin serves as a purveyor of mystery that exposes The Mountain's darkest places and brings to light the beauty in those who have been unable to accept their gifts. Staring into space and feeling the affects of the comet are a donut shop mystic, a Russian immigrant with a longing for her homeland, and a family that has suffered the devastating loss of their matriarch. Everyone in attendance at the comet party will have an altered perspective after the passing.

Kindle Edition

First published April 30, 1999

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William Graney

13 books47 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Sam C.
1 review1 follower
March 22, 2016
I agree with other reviewers about the fact that this story is begging to be interpreted visually, whether in movie, graphic novel or other format. The description is beautiful but leaves enough room for the imagination to take over. The characters are complex and impressively well-developed but never over complicated. The story is easy to read and quite addicting thanks to the quick pacing and unpredictability. All the elements are there of a story that is easily adaptable for multiple formats. Perhaps one day we will see our beloved story come to life outside of our imaginations.
The book features many story lines of residents who live in the mountain town.

The stories masterfully reveal a universal although terribly individual human struggle from various perspectives which eventually culminate in a shared moment when the town gathers to witness a comet in the sky. Though each of them are profoundly affected by the presence of the brilliant object overhead, the experience is different for all of them. Without giving too much away, I will just say that I interpreted the occurrence as an incredible illustration for the human experience with the realm of the spiritual, vastly differing from individual to individual while still connecting us in so many ways.

The book explores characters of varying ages and backgrounds, which gives the overall story a great deal more depth than if it would have focused on only just a few. The conclusion is also all the more meaningful because of this.

Overtones of mystery and sci-fi permeate the book, making this an interesting read for sci-fi fans as well. However as others have pointed out the book is absolutely prepared to please readers from multiple genres. I was impressed with the delicate balance that the author kept in maintaining the element of mysticism while telling each character’s story in the context of a realistic setting.
Profile Image for Natalie.
632 reviews51 followers
January 31, 2017
This book about a network of friends and families, lovers and troubles, ideas, chess and a fictional town with a donut shop that always has a fresh pot of good cofffe going kept me turning the pages !

I found between times when I wasn't reading i would wonder what would happen next. Or I'd catch myself thinking of the characters the way one does when a book comes alive in your mind .

Although the writing is a bit uneven in patches (perhaps an early-ish work for this author ? It's my first but i'll be reading more) the storytelling makes up for the occasional readerly and grammatical bumps in the road .

The structure of the storytelling and the way interwoven storylines of the past and present unfold are well planned and well executed - reminded me a bit of JK Rowling's Casual Vacancy and Stephen King's small town settings, but also of AM Homes' This Book will save your life" without the english desperation, without the demonic, without the self referential SoCal humor - compared to those this story similarly tells of family, the anticipated mysterious, and a seeker but with an unexpected sincerity, and an almost boosterish approach to its setting. You get the impression Ganey wants you to love Mountaintop like he does.
Profile Image for Jeff.
371 reviews4 followers
May 5, 2021
Quaint little book about a mountain community who ultimately ends up at a comet viewing party. So many characters are introduced right from the start that I had to keep going back to see who was who. A few of them get detailed backstory. By detailed, I mean, one or two incidents from that past. The best one was for a prodigy and a youth chess tournament. Otherwise, the author tends to 'tell you' instead of 'showing you' who these people are and what their motives are. It ends abruptly at the comet viewing and we are told how each person is transformed. The end. I believe this an early work of the author, so kudos for that. Because he runs my local independent bookseller shop, I may try one of his later books.
92 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2019
This book was a mixed bag for me. I found the personal stories of the characters to be quite interesting. I found myself thinking about the characters during my work day, which is a sign I'm engaged in the book. When I looked past the grammatical errors, I enjoyed it. Some parts dragged out a bit too long, especially the beginning of the book where the characters were being fleshed out. A bit more editing and condensation would have brought the book up to 4 stars for me.
Profile Image for Sohini De.
34 reviews1 follower
January 19, 2016
There are often novels that are based on families. William Graney’s Mountaintop USA leaves the same pleasure as reading a family book. A small town where there are many characters, all of whom are intertwined by their activities and lifestyles.
William deserves credit for carefully building up each character and justifying them. With different profession, relationship troubles and the introduction of teenage love Mountaintop is packed with all the ingredients that make a great read.
As the story begins we are introduced to the residents of the town. We meet Robbie, the donut make, Nathan troubled with his existence, Tatiana, the Russian player, and Michelle the teen daughter of Jeff and Faye.
As the story unfolds we learn that a comet called Terrapin is supposed to pass by earth and the best place to watch it is Mountaintop. The quirky personalities of the town gather with their telescopes to witness it. The commencing of the comet is the inauguration of an event that simply triggers the changes and revelations.
There are parts of the story that would engage a reader to the core. I enjoyed the sweet and subtle romance encounters of Michelle and Robbie, on the contrary, we were also presented with the marital issues of Jeff and Faye. It makes a reader wonder how love can have so many different forms, so simple at a younger age but complicated at a later.
There was more than one protagonist in the novel. Nathan was an interesting addition in the crowd. His unusual experiences, questions about sexuality, about god often intrigued the reader. His conversations with father timothy are engaging and highlights a few unusual topics that even makes the reader pensive.
I liked the way William has given a different personality to each character. Not one is alike, yet they are all intermingled in the story. The diverse directions of the story make it unique. I felt it was initially a little hard to keep track of the storylines, but soon enough I got the grasp of it and from then onward it was more than engaging.
The story explored several sections of the society. Glimpses of high school often made me nostalgic of my teenage years, and I could easily connect to it. The getting high for entertainment, high school rivalry, and teenage crushes was more like fresh air amidst the serious troubles in the lives of others.
A wide diversity of characters can be found in the book. William has successfully utilized all the different colors of the palate to create a magnificent picture. A picture that reflects personalities and brings out truths and facts that change perspective. The essence of the book leaves a reader engrossed long after coming to the end of it, and there lies the flavor of it.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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