BEYOND YONDER by Stephen Morris


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An amusing potpourri of tall tales about a little Vermont town adjusting to an invasion of the young and upwardly mobile. Upper Granville was, in the late 70's, just another rapidly deteriorating Vermont village stuck way back up in the woods somewhere, but by 1980 wealthy liberals fleeing from the city have changed all that. There are Dr. Darwin Hunter; ""trust-fund hippy"" Clark Townsend; photographer B.J. Bosco; restoration artist Bruce Liebermann (whose professional name is Nathan Hale Winthrop); and others, all known by the locals as ""Flatlanders."" The locals, or ""Chucks"" (""The extreme Chuck is a person of low intelligence and even lower ambition who ekes out a living by cutting wood, boiling sap, and bilking tourists""), mingle uneasily with, but finally accept, the newcomers. The confrontations are chronicled in episodic, haphazard fashion by Dr. Hunter, who is collecting notes for his town history, Beyond Yonder (which is a parody of the classic small-town memoir). There's the time Oakley McBear (Chuck) got drunk at the Fourth of July picnic; the time Darwin and Bruce raced around the valley on a bet; the time B.J. Bosco threw a Tupperware party; etc. All of this is related by the author with mock-sociological interest and a good deal of affection. Finally, however, Vermont winters and the isolation win out, and only Hunter remains--until he spies, coming over the hill, the next crop of wealthy pioneers fleeing the cities. Less a novel than a kind of Vermont jokebook--there is little attempt at plotting or character development--but, as such, it makes for easy, light entertainment.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1987
Publisher: Stephen Greene--dist. by Viking