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Duncan reviews Townsend

Saturday Review: “Split Identity and Shades of Local Color Writing” a review by Charles Duncan in NCLR Online Winter 2024 of Jacinda Townsend’s novel Mother Country (2022)

Duncan posits, “Townsend’s novel reads, in many ways, like an updated (and internationalized) version of local color writing, a genre of American literature widespread in the late nineteenth century that interwove depictions of specific venues with fictional plots.” From Morocco to Kentucky, the multiple narrators are all supported by the many different places visited throughout the novel.

“Most of the novel reflects the perspectives of Shannon, Souria, and Yumna/Mardi, and does so by jumping back and forth between time periods in their lives, a style that can be both compelling and
confusing – a reader has to pay close attention to keep track of the complex set of stories,” Duncan comments. The review contains an overview of the plot and these three main characters, further illuminating the reasons for close attention.

The book is not light; Duncan is upfront and straightforward about this. He says, “creating powerful, often beautiful descriptions – not always of happy things – defines her writing in the novel.”

Read the entire review in the Online Winter 2024 issue out now! And order the book from