Building Mount Everest - a coming of age novel by Zoe Mason King

World War II has ended but British colonial traditions are silently at war with an Australian whose identity is maturing relentlessly. This network of tales is told by a near-sighted child, half-British, half-European, certain she can make peace in her family and within the culture. Neither her culture nor her family is ready for peace.

This haunting novel spans wars, continents, and the Great Depression. It spins a strange future from old loves, loyalties, and secrets. A free-spirited bride shapes herself into convention. A grandparent's death reaches across time and continents. An officer faces civilian life. A mother betrays her daughter. Reality is more dangerous than imagination; religion, than sex. Reserve shrouds fact and prejudice. A sweater, glasses, letter, shard: each changes the course of a life. A girls' school breeds strictures, loves, betrayals. A religious meeting forces impossible choices. A mother's secret, long held, ordains a daughter's life. A grasshopper, moth, puppy: each can end a childhood and unfold truths and passions, rarely simple.

Throughout, the great heart of Australia beats in each life and decision. And a young girl's widening world reminds us that we each grow because of-and in spite of-family and culture. Like Australia, we are destined to wound and be wounded, to heal, to become ourselves.