City in a Forest - Book Review

City in a Forest

Author: Ginger Pinholster
Genre: Fiction - Womens
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: September 19, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684333189
ISBN-13: 9781684333189

GoodReads Rating:

Book Review of :  City in a Forest


City in a Forest by Ginger Pinholster is a contemporary fiction told from multiple viewpoints. Arden Collier, a struggling artist, is introduced in the first sentence as she opens a letter that features "an amateurish sketch of two crossed nails, reminding her of the county’s plan to crucify her.” Arden’s dilemma is compounded as the reader learns about her complicated personality, her family history, and her determination to survive to make her unusual art.

This is a character-driven novel with a delightful, descriptive understanding of specific individuals. The reader can “see” Arden, an unkempt woman wearing a cast-off, over-sized purple blouse and a dingy gypsy skirt. Her hands are splotched with dried paint and plaster. She picks her way carefully over mountains of hoarded junk smothering her house and yard, her hiking boots kicking up red dust.

The author is adept at characterization and enabling the reader to relate to and empathize with each of the distinctive people she brings to life. A minor character, Liam, wears a vintage a purple corduroy suit with a rose-colored tie, his legs crossed to expose royal blue socks dotted with stylized green sea turtles, for example.

The plot revolves around a property dispute in a small rural African-American settlement in Atlanta. Arden’s childhood friend Parker Gozer, a white woman, becomes entangled in the plot to build a high-rise condominium using Arden’s family’s legacy property. Each of the characters involved in the property dispute has his or her own agenda, especially antagonist Buddy Caldwell, an old acquaintance and nemesis of Parker and Arden.

The author reveals some of the animosity between Atlanta's black and white culture as well as the clash of historical environments and commercial development, through an interplay of backstory and dialogue. Buddy tells Arden that he “got fond memories of your grandpa, good old Junebug.” She hisses in response, “Nobody called my grandfather Junebug except you people – white folks who had him cleaning toilets and shoveling trash for thirty-five f***** years. His name was John Roberts Collier. Mr. John Collier.”

While the plot of the novel twists like a kudzu vine and keeps the reader guessing, the heart of the novel is its memorable characters, characters that will tug at the readers' memories, good or bad, of real people in their own lives.

Reviewed by: carole w

About Ginger Pinholster

Ginger Pinholster earned her M.F.A. from Queens University of Charlotte, studying with Lauren Groff and Fred Leebron. At Eckerd College, her teachers included Florida's Poet Laureate Peter Meinke. Her work has appeared in The Northern Virginia Review, Eckerd Review, Atticus Review, Blackheart Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, Gravel, and Dying Dahlia Review, and in the book Boomtown. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Ginger now works in Daytona Beach, Florida. She also volunteers with the Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol.


By: Jeff BoyleDate: 10/19/2019 20:11:19
Ginger Pinholster's novel City in a Forest is a beautiful story with well-etched indelible characters dealing with life-changing events. The writing is poetic, descriptive, rich in emotional intelligence as it weaves a classic confrontation between development and environment, specifically a forest enclave in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. This novel is bestseller quality and rates five stars.

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