Book Review: Uptown: A Novel
Publication Date: Mar 02, 2010
List Price: $21.99
Format: Paperback, 331 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Book Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah
Sometimes Going Home Is Difficult
Uptownby the writing duo, Deberry and Grant is a fast-paced novel set in modern-day Harlem about a prominent middle class family with troubles, drama and a whole host of secrets.
After twenty years of traveling the world as a foreign diplomat, Avery Lyons returns home to Harlem when her mother and uncle are injured in a automobile accident. When her beloved mothers dies from her injuries, Avery is left alone, forced to face the skeletons in her closet. She is also forced to reunite with a family she has long been far removed from. She is a reluctant participant and is ready to turn and run until she realizes that running doesn't take away the pain. It's time she faced her demons and moved on with her life.
Avery's cousin, Dwight Dixon is the other remaining heir to the family's real estate empire. At one time Dwight and Avery were more like brother and sister than cousins. Both, only children they grew up together living down the block from one another in a comfortable lifestyle in Harlem's Striver's Row. But one tragic incident as college students changes their relationship and leaves Avery broken and torn about her family's loyalties. Her disdain for Dwight is not easily forgotten, nor is she able to forgive him.
Dwight is willing to do whatever he has to in order to pull off the largest real estate deal by an African American company in the history of Manhattan. The development of Dixon Plaza, a luxury high-rise project on Central Park North promises to bring millions but at the same time, it will also displace the low-income residents who will find themselves the victims of re-gentrification. Dwight doesn't care about that. All he cares about is proving to his domineering father that he can make a success of the project. Dwight was never good enough in his father's eyes and he never lived up to his expectations. As a result; his childhood was full of pain and insecurity. Carrying these issues into adulthood; Dwight is a tortured soul with his own set of skeletons. He is cold and calculating. Married and the father of a daughter that his past won't allow him to bond with, his worst fears come true and he loses his dreams, his family and his future when he, like his cousin Avery must face the demons of the past.
As the scandals unravel, the greed becomes apparent and the ambition of a man with a big plan is squashed amidst tales of sex, betrayal and Harlem politics. The inside look into the Manhattan real estate industry gives the storyline an extra edge as the plot thickens. I loved it!
UPTOWN is a lot different from the authors' previous novels. This book has a much stronger storyline. They have crafted a great story with interesting characters. It was a satisfying read that made this reader want to know more about what will happen for Avery and Dwight in the future. I am hoping for a sequel to The ending left the story wide open for more action.