Monday, April 9, 2018

Gossips in a Roman à Clef

I admit to hoping I might appear as a character in Utopia Falls, Byrne Fone's mystery novel set in a fictionalized Hudson in the first decade of the 21st century, but I didn't want to be a victim and certainly not the murderer. (A suspect proved innocent would have been OK.) Instead, if I appear at all, it is as the anonymous author of Newtopia News, which I believe is the fictionalized Gossips of Rivertown. Fone has some rather flattering things to say about the unnamed wordsmith, so I hope it's not vanity that makes me think Newtopia News is Gossips. Read this excerpt and decide for yourselves.
. . . [I]n the Falls there are two places to go for local rant and news. The first is Newtopia News. It is an online blog that every day keeps tabs on what is going on in the Falls, detailing often with witty and sometimes incredulous reportage what the City fathers are pondering in their City Council meetings, or listing interesting things to do in the Falls, or describing the latest architectural outrage committed by one or another of the "developers"--all from out of town--who have been buying up many of the city's historic buildings and either simply leaving them to sit vacant or inflicting their own version of "historic restoration" upon them. This last especially draws the ire of the very knowledgeable author of Newtopia News. 
Describing one especially egregious act of "restoration" when a c 1797 house was torn down, moved, and rebuilt incorporating elements of a style that had not yet been invented when the house was first constructed, the Newtopia author announced that not only was this "neither historic nor restoration but blatant vandalism of the most ignorant kind" committed by the developer--who by this time it is said owned three dozen city properties--"and also the City that permitted it."
I have not mentioned the name of the author of Newtopia News because said author writes in anonymity.
The excerpt starts by mentioning two sources of "local rant and news." The second, called Falls Folk, is, I am quite sure, the now defunct Voy Forum. 

You can get your own copy of Utopia Falls and try your hand at matching fiction to reality by clicking here.

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