“A poignantly told story of ruminative remembrance.”— Kirkus Reviews
“Maneuvers through heartbreak with grace”— Forward Reviews
“Skillfully navigates the twist of familial bonds”— E.B. Moore, author of An Unseemly Wife
“An achingly real and thought-provoking novel”— Emily Ross, author of Half in Love with Death
“A stirring debut novel about the past’s ineluctable presence in the present”— Michael Antman, author of Everything Solid Has a Shadow
“A heartfelt, haunting, and beautifully told coming-of-age story”—Belle Brett, author of Gina in the Floating World
In 2004, when middle-aged Walker Maguire is called to the deathbed of his estranged father, his thoughts return to 1974. He’d worked that summer at the auto factory where his dad, an unhappily retired Air Force colonel, was employed as plant physician. Witness to a bloody fight falsely blamed on a Mexican immigrant, Walker kept quiet, fearing his white co-workers and tyrannical father. His secret snowballs into lies, betrayals and eventually the disappearance of the Mexican's family, leading to a life-long rift between father and son that can only be mended by bringing 1974 back to life in 2004 to reveals its long-hidden truths.
About the Author
Mark Guerin is a graduate of Grub Street’s Novel Incubator program in Boston. He has an MFA from Brandeis University and is a winner of an Illinois Arts Council Grant and the Mimi Steinberg Award for Playwriting. Originally from northern Illinois, Mark currently lives in Maine with his wife and two Brittany Spaniels. This is his debut novel.
"...In this novel, author Guerin beautifully captures the powerful contradictions of the relationship between father and son, which combines elements of friendship and antagonism. The author only gradually discloses Walker’s epiphanies about his dad, which not only transform the protagonist’s personal opinion of him, but also the future arc of his own life. The prose is confident and confessional throughout, and Guerin draws the reader into the compelling story by having Walker unflinchingly reveal his sense of disappointment in himself. Like the journalist he is, Walker clamors for the truth, whether it’s consoling or not. A poignantly told story of ruminative remembrance."-- Kirkus Reviews
"In Mark Guerin’s You Can See More from up Here, a nineteen-year-old and his father face up to a conflict of generational ideologies when a workplace incident sends reverberations through their small town. …Alternating between a summer [in 1974] and winter thirty years later, as Walker sits at his dying father’s bedside, the book examines the dichotomy of a strict father and his conscientious son, both products of their respective times. Its mood is retrospective at first, as Walker reconciles his dying father with the disciplinarian he knew. Sections from the past soon envelope the book, though, and are meticulous and absorbing in their details.
The characters and settings shape each other, and tension among characters results in the suspense that propels the story. Foreshadowing connects one chapter to the next. By working toward doing the noble thing and making amends, Walker helps his father confront his own internal dilemmas. The book’s end is cathartic, bringing all of the emotional subplots to a head. Racial issues are handled with honesty.
Mark Guerin’s debut maneuvers through heartbreak with grace, navigating family expectations, a community’s pervasive racism, and how peoples’ actions shape others’ opinions."
— Forward Reviews
"The structure of short, present-tense chapters mixed with longer past-tense ones worked beautifully, tickling my anticipation and constantly luring me forward, maintaining suspense as Guerin divulged each new discovery. The author skillfully navigates the twist of familial bonds as a father and son confront distrust, lies, and unspoken expectations. Racial clashes and economic disparity compound their struggles making for an intense and satisfying novel."
— E.B. Moore, author of An Unseemly Wife and Stones in the Road
"You Can See More From Up Here is an achingly real and thought-provoking novel about a son’s quest to understand his troubled father and the long-ago summer that changed both of their lives. Alternating between 1974 and 2005, this novel vividly evokes the toxic behavior that keeps fathers from making genuine emotional connections with their sons, and the violence and bigotry lurking beneath the surface of a seemingly normal family in a bygone era (that is sadly not all that different from our own). Its unforgettable characters will leave you reflecting on your own family and the power of the past to shape the present, long after you’ve finished turning the pages.
— Emily Ross, author of Half in Love with Death
A powerful father’s looming presence fills every page of You Can See More From Up Here, Mark Guerin’s stirring debut novel about the past’s ineluctable presence in the present. With a steady hand, Guerin excavates the snarled roots of a dysfunctional family, the corrosive effects of class conflict, and the deeply buried lies that only a novelist of great scope and insight can bring into the revivifying light of day.
— Michael Antman, book and theater critic, novelist, and author of Everything Solid Has a Shadow and Cherry Whip
Toggling between 1974 and 2005, this heartfelt, haunting, and beautifully told coming-of-age story explores the complexities and long-lasting residues of an unresolved father-son relationship, while also exploring class and race differences that resonate in today’s America. You Can See More From Up Here will stay with you, prodding you to consider how your own path has been shaped by your perceptions of reality and how complicated the truth can be, even from a good vantage point.
—Belle Brett, author of Gina in the Floating World