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Thunder Mountain is intriguing blend of mountains, magic and realism

By Carla DeMaro

Book cover
THUNDER MOUNTAIN by Uncle River, cover design by Paul Malecot. (Mother Bird Books, 1213 Durango, Silver City, New Mexico, 88062, 189 pages, $11.00, paperback.) 

Thunder Mountain is a novel of magical realism by former Western New Mexico University professor and eccentric mountain man, Uncle River. Set in the mythical southwestern New Mexico mountain town of Elk Stuck, the book details mundane and mystical events that revolve around the main character, drifter Harry Upton, and his quirky, adopted family.

After a time of contentment in the lush highland village, peace is disrupted by the arrival of a sinister spirit which brings with it a mysterious corporation seemingly allied with covert governmental forces. Environmental rape and abuse of the mountain soon spread to threaten Elk Stuck's very existence. As Upton and his cohorts work stealthily to understand the company's motives and halt its activities, they are aided by the mountain's guardian spirit which sends guidance in the form of dreams, visions, and even herself. The confusion and calamities spurred by the battle between good and evil unravel a study in how character drives action and choice determines fate.

Uncle River describes the gritty, high-country life with a clarity and detail that can only come from living it. Along with appreciation for hardy mountain folk and their fringe lifestyle, the story invokes the realization that open eyes can be both wary and filled with wonder.

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