Title: Atlanta Stories: Reconstruction
Author: G.M. Lupo
Genre: Southern fiction
Atlanta Stories: Reconstruction by G.M. Lupo is the second volume in a series with a strong emphasis on family dynamics and community. The narrative follows several different storylines that all overlap and take place in Atlanta in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The characters come from diverse backgrounds and face differing struggles, but their stories are connected in that they are all narratives about overcoming difficult times together as a family.
Because Atlanta Stories: Reconstruction features several different stories woven into one narrative, this novel is not the typical book one usually reads. The manner in which the author overlaps and weaves together so many different characters’ lives is fascinating, surprising, and, at times, perplexing. Because of the large cast of characters, keeping straight who is who can prove challenging. Perhaps a list of the cast at the beginning of the book would prove beneficial for some readers who may not be accustomed to reading a novel with so many characters.
The benefit of the many layered storylines is that any reader is sure to find at least one storyline to connect with. The author touches on subjects such as religion, death, drug abuse, romance, money, jobs, growing up, and personal identity.
This novel is heavy on themes, which makes it the ideal candidate for literary fiction. Although nothing huge like an epic journey or a war happens, G.M. Lupo’s narrative focuses on the microcosms in our own backyards and how the day-to-day struggles of people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, and economic backgrounds can provide just as satisfying a story as a novel where the action is large scale. The author’s work is a compilation of several character studies, with at least one character likely to resonate with the reader.
G.M. Lupo’s narrative winds itself well into recent history. The author mentions the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. September 11, 2001 plays a role in some of the stories, and as the reader is engrossed in the narrative and finds out it’s only three days before the Twin Towers fell, the realization that the world is about to change hits. The rise of the Internet in the 1990s also has a prominent role in the novel.
The author uses easy-to-read language, and most of the narrative is dialogue-driven, which moves the pace of the novel along well. There are sections that are heavy on summary, usually background information and character descriptions, that slow down the narrative at times.
G.M. Lupo employs mostly present tense throughout the stories; however, he uses past tense as well, and the usage of the two tenses can be interpreted as inconsistent. Otherwise, the grammar and punctuation are clean.
Atlanta Stories: Reconstruction is a multi-layered, intertwined narrative with rich characters. G.M. Lupo effectively employs everyday situations in recent history in an all-American city to create fascinating character studies. Readers who enjoy stories with family themes will benefit from reading Atlanta Stories: Reconstruction.
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