By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,563)
“Below Munjoy”, by Maine native, Tom Hall has it all – gentrification and much of its consequences! Hall’s self-published novel has mayhem, murder and romance in a neighborhood he’s familiar with having lived on Munjoy Hill much of his life. “Below Munjoy” resonates.
Frank, a young aspiring writer from western Maine arrives on India Street for his summer job as an assistant to an aging painter who likes his booze and is preparing for a major art exhibit locally. To Frank’s surprise, gentrification and its issues meets him squarely in the jaw in a series of twists and turns that kept this blogger engaged to the last page. This blogger is not a food critic nor a book critic, but does know when she’s read a good book and wants to recommend it to others! Apparently word of mouth has beaten this blogger to the job accounting for the high sales this book has already experienced according to several booksellers who sell it.
At the center of the plot is the planned demolition of the historic building on India Street in which Frank and the aging artist have separate apartments. The demolition is to make way for the “New Munjoy” as Hall calls it – probably the construction of more condominium units in this low-income and anti-tenant city. This is a novel so the resolution does not reflect the realities of gentrification on Munjoy Hill – the developer always wins here on the Hill. Hall is an architect by training but considers himself a landscape painter he emailed this blogger.- hence there is always a house in every book he writes.
“Under Munjoy” is the first book in a larger project. -an already written series of books about locattions in Maine where he has lived; Moosehead Lake is one of them.
“Below Munjoy” is sold at two bookstores that mhn.com is aware of. There may be more. One is Gulf of Maine Books, Brunswick and the other is Sherman’s Books, Exchange Street in the Old Port of Portland. The cost of this 222-page paperback is $22.00. It was self-published in 2015.