You Can See More From Up Here by Mark Guerin
Blazing Sapphire Press: 10/1/19
eBook review copy; 436 pages
You Can See More From Up Here by Mark Guerin is a highly recommended family drama and examination of a father/son relationship.
It is 2004 and Walker Maguire's father is dying so he returns to the
small Illinois town he left behind years ago. His arrival brings to the
forefront of his thoughts the summer in 1974. That summer he returned
from college and went to work in the auto factory where his father, a
retired Air Force
colonel, was the company doctor. After he was forced out of the military, Walker's father was bitter and took out his anger on Walker.
Walker rarely returned home after that summer. It was the summer he
first noticed prejudice when he witnessed a fight between his
ex-girlfriend's father and a Mexican immigrant. It was the summer he
truly fell in love. It was the summer where his fear of his father came
to the forefront. Now a successful journalist, Walker is certain that he
needs to reexamine this summer in order to finally understand/come to
some sort of understanding of his father.
This is a beautiful written examination of a life-long alienation
between son and father and an exploration of the past events that led to
it. The narrative alternates between Walker in 2004, at the hospital,
sitting with his father, and events from the time his family moved to
Belford, Illinois, when Walker was 14 and his younger sister Paige was 9. Paige
was their father's favorite child and often was the impetus that caused
their father's anger to be taken out on Walker. As he is sitting at the
hospital, it becomes important for Walker to write his memoir, and
reflect on the summer that pitted
son against father and changed their relationship. Unflinchingly
honest, father, daughter, and son are flawed characters, but the empathy
will be with Walker.
strained relationship between father and son is an enduring struggle
that stretches across time and families, as does a favored child in a
family. Walker is a sympathetic character and Paige, well, she just
inspires anger as does their father. The alternating narratives from
2004 and 1974 stand in stark contrast to each other because it is
actions of a young man juxtaposed with the recollections
of a middle aged man. There are times when Walker does become
repetitive and the novel would have benefited in places from a quicker
My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.