Verdict: Elements of the plot teeter on the unbelievable, but the raw emotional energy of the book keeps the reader engaged.
Jane Schumacher, a political press secretary with a chip on her shoulder, left her isolated mountain town in upstate New York at the age of eighteen, vowing never to return. Yet return she does, twenty years later, asking for forgiveness. Why?
R.M. Doyon’s novel Upcountry centers around the powerful theme of returning to one’s past– and reckoning with it before it’s too late. Elements of the plot teeter on the unbelievable and the author’s narration suffers from repetition and a fondness for stating the obvious, but the raw emotional energy of the book keeps the reader engaged.
Doyon’s talent lies in portraying everyday people from various socio-economic echelons who are all trying in their own ways to survive in the face of prejudice and pain. And while the “surprise ending” was not much of a surprise, the story is a dynamic read that kept my interest, peppered with dramatic events that move along at a good pace. There are also some beautifully poignant moments, set against the barren and unforgiving backdrop of Morgantown, NY.
Reviewed by Francesca Federico
NYU student, majoring in Global Liberal Studies with a concentration in arts and literature. Author of two novels. Inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jack Kerouac and Sylvia Plath. Aspiring opera singer and harpist.
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