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Feb 1, 2023

Matt Crawford speaks with author Kai Thomas about his debut novel, In The Upper Country. In the 1800's in Dunmore, a Canadian town settled by people fleeing enslavement in the American South. Lensinda Martin works for a Black journalist, and she must recover the story of an old woman who has just shot a slave hunter after arriving to town via the Underground Railroad. The old woman has no interest in confessing but she is willing to trade a story for a story. What follows is an exchange of oral histories that pull the reader in deeper and deeper. Thomas has done extensive research from oral and written histories, even down to recipes from the era. The fruits of those labors are a book that will transport you back in time and personally connect with you. I was viscerally affected by this book, and it will stay with me for a while.