Friday, July 17, 2015

No Place to Fall, by Jaye Robin Brown

In the mountains of western North Carolina, there isn't a lot to do besides partying with hikers and abusing prescription meds, and the young people have neither a lot of ambition nor a lot of hope.  But Amber has a talent for singing and, with some encouragement from friends and teachers, a dream of getting an art scholarship.  But as in a classic tragedy, there is a complicated web of desires and jealousies amid her friends and families which will cost her her dreams.  And, in the end, force her to choose how much she is willing to sacrifice to make things right.

A complicated and dark depiction of rural North Carolina and a sharp contrast to the book I just reviewed before this (Heart of a Shepherd).  This too rings of authenticity, but with a more pessimistic worldview.  There's a biting honesty to how Brown  depicts the human condition, as no one is immune from the petty longings and wrath that ultimately destroy their dreams. It may be dispiriting to never experience a truly virtuous character, but it feels more authentic and ultimately uplifting to have done so.  Brown gets a particular loud shout out for creating characters that initially appear to be caricatures but ultimately are fleshed out into complex people.

No comments: