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Somewhere Upriver (2013)

by Patrick Loafman(Favorite Author)
4.46 of 5 Votes: 2
1492163333 (ISBN13: 9781492163336)
Event Horizon Press
review 1: Very stylistic, humorous prose, chock full of interesting details. At times it overwhelms the characters' interactions, but it still makes for a fast and entertaining read. I had some pet peeves with the story itself, but the journey was fun enough that they're hardly worth mentioning. My biggest pet peeve with it was that there were a lot of problems with quotations- the end mark left off when switching to a different character or to narration, narration preceded by a quotation mark, that sort of thing. It was well edited otherwise, and the writing wasn't impeded by its distinct personality, but the need to pause and ascertain where the shift in dialogue happened slowed me down a lot. I love writers who put a sense of themselves, not just their interests, into their work,... more and this book definitely had that. I've got a soft spot for environmental fiction, and this hit that spot, with an additional poke at the parts of me that enjoy conspiracy theories and crazy people. It's been a fun trip. A few of the plot threads seemed somewhat illogical, especially toward the end. But again, a fun journey.I received a free copy in exchange for an honest, nonreciprocal review.
review 2: Review of Somewhere Upriver by Patrick Loafman Somewhere Upriver is a story of the Olympic Mountains of coastal Washington state, of the wildlife and sometimes-wild people who live there. Douglas Mortimer is the young scientist narrator who comes of age joining in the improbable adventures of the man who becomes his mentor, Peter Vernon. Peter is a dedicated naturalist who knows everything about salamanders, and soon the reader does, too. If this sounds like an improbable course for a novel, think of the best-selling books that taught us all we know about whales, great white sharks, elevators, velociraptors, viruses, and seagulls; Somewhere Upriver joins this popular and illustrious crowd. The novel divides into three distinct parts. First the salamander-search, as the scientists look for new species. Gradually we recognize Peter as the center of the novel, larger than life, a gentle force of nature, a guru and shaman as wild and untamable as the mountains he roams in: a great naïf, innocent of his constant disruption of everything around him. An incident of apparent poisoning leads to the second and best part of the novel: the trial of Peter Vernon for murder. Peter acts as his own attorney, disrupting the proceedings in as strange and entertaining a trial as you’re likely to encounter since Arlo Guthrie’s, but for much higher stakes. About to be convicted, Peter pulls off a scientific surprise and is freed. In the last part of Somewhere Upriver, Douglas and Peter stumble across a hidden government installation protected by what has got to be the USA’s most inept FBI agent. The agent takes several people prisoner in a cabin in the forest, but thanks to Douglas’ heroics, the hostages escape. Wonderful touches fill this novel, especially the imaginative imagery of textures and tactile sensations: “The morning sky, blanched and anemic, fell to its knees. Wisps of clouds stretched their fingers outside my window as if searching Seattle for the strongest cup of coffee, a jolt of caffeine so the clouds could lift themselves off the city streets and return to the sky where they ought to be.” And the couple who live underground, cautiously raising a moss-covered periscope to see what’s happening in the world outside. But Peter Vernon remains the center of this tale: “I get into a little trouble now and then,” Peter says, “but at least you can’t say I’m boring.” And none of this novel is boring, either: wonderful characters, action, humor, a little sex, and a vivid picture of one of the last American rainforests. It's great testimony that I really cared how the characters fared in the years that followed, as told in the epilogue. And oh, yeah; I almost forgot the toads. We learn a lot about toads, too! less
Reviews (see all)
Plain Old Bob
A fun ride!
I love the quirky characters in this book. It's fast-paced and fun and should be made into a movie.
Awesome book! I love the way this guy writes, poetic and fun.
Best novel I've read in a long time.
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