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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Brinkman's debut is an astonishing first-person narrative that reveals a family struggling to regain its footing after the sudden death of its matriarch. The tragedy blooms slowly through the eyes of a precocious narrator, nine-year-old Sebby Lane. An unusual and sensitive child, Sebby knows more of what is swirling around him than the adults in his life are willing to admit. Challenged by an autistic-like condition, he is able to render -- in the simplest of terms -- the complexities of emotion that stymie the adults around him. As his father retreats into self-imposed exile at the family's summerhouse and his older siblings break away from the family, Sebby is left alone to fathom his grief and navigate his way back to the world of the whole.
Up High in the Trees is not a novel that proceeds with a linear progression, but this is one of its strengths. Rather, it is like the journey of a fallen leaf that becomes caught in the current of a powerful river: tossed and turned by troubled waters, sometimes becalmed in a rare eddy of solitude, but always in danger of submersion. Like a floating leaf, Sebby's natural buoyancy is a flare of hope for an end to his journey of grief, and a new beginning. (Fall 2007 Selection)