Book Review: Seeds of Discent

Seeds of Discent
by Nic Esposito
(Bobcat Coveside Books, 300 pp., $20, March 2011)

The descent of plant roots into Philadelphia’s trashed soils is the most essential dissent against America’s failing economy, especially when these roots grow food, says author Nic Esposito. A 28-year-old West Philly farmer, Esposito’s first novel, Seeds of Discent, appears inspired by, if not a reflection of, his personal experiences. The fictional story features West Philadelphia Millennials serving the planet by rebuilding cities greenward. They fill vacant lots, roofs and walls with food. They live simply, for this future. Philadelphia’s urban farmers exhibit daily heroism, by defying social pressures to succeed as consumers. Yet instead of becoming competitive, they courageously love one another for their shared vision.

Esposito tells this story impressively well, given that his main characters are young people trying to comprehend our diverse city, and one another, while navigating bureaucracies, mortgages and joblessness. His characters have little to offer one another but forgiveness and care. So Esposito writes with both grace and bite.

This is not high drama, with car chases and detectives. It’s higher drama, the most fundamental drama—literally planting the living foundation of protest and social change.

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—Paul Glover