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Review of ‘Upstate’

Almost 20 years ago I was smitten by The Broken Estate, an early collection of literary criticism by James Wood that memorably attuned and complicated my reading. So I was ready to be nothing if not critical when I picked up his second novel, Upstate. Fiction sharks can’t help smelling blood in the water when…

Review of ‘Upstate’

Kalisha Buckhanon, a protégé of acclaimed author Sapphire, has written a vivid but—be warned—surpassingly sad debut novel. Upstate explores the myriad trials that afflict the poor, especially the African-American poor: fatherlessness, abuse, drugs, homelessness and the appalling rate of incarceration of its young men ("upstate" is where most of the prisons are in New…

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