Sarah Leipciger’s cultural favourites

May 5, 2015, Article by Tom in Books

The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger is one of our favourite debut novels of 2015 so far. In fact, forget that; it’s one of our favourite novels of 2015 so far.

Set in a rugged Canadian landscape, it follows a hunter and single father, Tom Berry, as he tries to track down his wayward son, who has fled to avoid the consequences of a tragic accident. It’s already attracted many fans, including the likes of Mark Haddon and the fantastically bearded Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs, and we can’t recommend it highly enough.

With The Mountain Can Wait published on May 7th in hardback and ebook, we asked author Sarah Leipciger to pick out her cultural favourites…


For the record: I do not have a favourite book – cruel to ask such a thing – but for our purposes here I will give you The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (the lesser-known but equally splendid Canadian Margaret). Eight-year-old protagonist Morag Gunn delivers the best line in all of contemporary literature: “Hold onto your shit and never let them know you’re ascared.”


Cormac McCarthy. I want to be buried with my annotated copy of The Border Trilogy, so that when my tissues break down into cells into molecules into atoms, remnants of what was once me will continue through eternity with remnants of what were once his words.

Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy


My brother, Joshua Leipciger. I loved his art when we were small: tiny, perfect replicas in play-dough of Sesame Street characters playing music, set up on his desk. Big Bird with a banjo, Kermit on the drums, Oscar the Grouch with a harmonica. Now, my brother’s art is dark, spindly… pointed elbows and big noses, eyes out of whack. Long feet.


Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, a look at the ‘war on drugs’ in America. The film follows several intertwined story lines, commenting on the gross hypocrisy and general ignorance around the ‘war’ and drug addiction in the States and Mexico. He deconstructs the lines between good and bad, and throws into question characters’ motivations. And, well, truthfully, I’m completely in love with Benicio de Toro. Watch him at the end, sitting under the baseball-diamond lights, and you’ll be in love with him too.


Chocolate cake. Easy.


Cisk. It’s a Maltese lager. But it has to be served in a chilled can, on Ghan Tuffieha beach, with a rim of sand around the middle of the can from where it was stuck into the sand, and grains of sand have to cling to the edge of my bottom lip after I take a sip.


Ani DiFranco, or, as my brother calls her, Ani Disgruntled. Ah, her songs of heartache and political angst are what got me through university! But seriously, she’s a kick-ass lyricist and poet. She plays guitar and piano and a bunch of instruments I don’t know the names of like she was born to it. She produces her own music and has her own record label, isn’t afraid to mess around with her sound, and her live performances are ridiculously good. She banters with the audience, she’s funny as hell, and she plays long sets. I’ll always love you, Ani.

Place/holiday destination

Mount Robson, which is, I believe, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. You don’t have to be some gortex-wearing, ice-pick-slinging mountaineer to enjoy Robson though. There are walks there for everyone, my favourite being the walk to Kinney Lake, an aquamarine glacial lake in the seat of granite peaks. If I believed in god, Kinney Lake would be my cathedral.


My favourite sport to do is open-water swimming, which I do a lot of. My favourite sport to watch others do is tennis (except for the super-slow-mo shots they’re so fond of broadcasting these days: I don’t need to see Novak Djokovic’s unmentionables swinging in his shorts). But I do love how the power balance in a tennis match can shift so dramatically from point to point. I suppose my favourite teams would have to be the teams my son plays for in both rugby and football. I’m the mum on the sidelines asking the other dads what the rules are.

The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger is published 7th May, by Tinder Press. Find out more here, and follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahLeipciger