There is something raw and unpolished about Laurel’s account of life on a remote island off he coast of Equatorial Guinea, which is no surprise given his upbringing and the fact that the story is narrated from the perspective of a young man as he describes life on the small island of Annobón. Laurel’s narrative style is fairly linear and straightforward, and is more influenced by oral storytelling than written storyteller, as Laurel explores not just life on the island, but also the impact that this had on him, from his grandfather’s sickness, to the intermittent interruptions of violence against various women in the novel. The story isn’t one which focuses so much on events and, aside from a catastrophic fire which engulfs the island, nothing much of note happens, rather the story acts as a paean to the daily rhythm of life on the island, of its customs and conventions, of the various people who populate it and their stories. Whilst the prose style can come across as raw and unpolished, the story nevertheless acts as a unique account of life in a country which we know little about. Overall ‘By Night the Mountain Burns’ is an interesting, if unspectacular read.