Review of Understory, By Lisa Lickel

Just wrote this review for Lisa Lickel’s Understory and thought I’d drop it here.

I view Lisa Lickel’s Understory as two almost independent stories. The first story is the Shakespearean tale of two troubled, vulnerable, untrusting people thrown into a situation where they must deal with their own demons while forced to interact with the other’s. This story has a wonderful tension and development as the two grow to accept and understand one another despite their struggles with communication and misguided prejudices. I hung on every word and miss-placed intention.

The second story tells the tale of a small town in a crisis. Spanning from the down-trodden local residents to the corrupt big business, going through multiple levels of law enforcement and criminal activity, there is a lot of activity and action to keep track of. The seemingly endless cast of characters became a little confusing for me as I worked to puzzle together all of the pieces of the conundrum happening in this unlikely small town in Wisconsin.

Throw in multiple literary and Shakespearean references, a forty-year-old murder case, and a couple of adorable dogs, and you have a very intricately woven plot. I feel like this story could have benefited from a few less characters and maybe one or two less story lines.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and all of its wonderful components.

I would give the first story 5 stars.

Glenn Seerup