The Heat of the Sun: Book summary and reviews of The Heat of the Sun by David Rain

The Heat of the Sun

by David Rain

The Heat of the Sun by David Rain
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2012
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

With Sophie Tucker belting from his hand-crank phonograph and a circle of boarding-school admirers laughing uproariously around him, Ben "Trouble" Pinkerton first appears to us through the amazed eyes of his Blaze Academy schoolmate, the crippled orphan Woodley Sharpless. Soon Woodley finds his life inextricably linked with this strange boy's. The son of Lieutenant Benjamin Pinkerton and the geisha Madame Butterfly, Trouble is raised in the United States by Pinkerton (now a Democrat senator) and his American wife, Kate. From early in life, Trouble finds himself at the center of some of the biggest events of the century - and though over time Woodley's and Trouble's paths diverge, their lives collide again to dramatic effect.

From Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to WPA labor during the Great Depression; from secret work at Los Alamos, New Mexico, to a revelation on a Nagasaki hillside by the sea - Woodley observes firsthand the highs and lows of the twentieth century and witnesses, too, the extraordinary destiny of the Pinkerton family.

David Rain's The Heat of the Sun is a high-wire act of sustained invention - as playful as it is ambitious, as moving as it is theatrical, and as historically resonant as it is evocative of the powerful bonds of friendship and of love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[The] characters and a sense of tragedy evoke American authors Fitzgerald and Styron, yet Rain's outsider worldview enriches rather than dulls the narrative...[Rain] author masterfully weaves Madame Butterfly through the 20th century, assuring that the connections never read as coincidences or plot devices." – Publisher's Weekly

"Rain, who's 'far too young to be writing this exquisitely' (Bookbag), imagines what happened to the son of Madame Butterfly, Puccini's eponymous heroine." – Library Journal

"A remarkable debut...Rain is master of this inventive, operatic and at moments harrowing debut." - Kirkus Reviews

"This fantastic story swirls around an irresistibly charismatic 'bad boy' whose odyssey of self-definition pulls the whole world in its wake. Like the historical epochs and episodes it weaves into a mesmerizing puzzle, The Heat of the Sun is by turns wildly colorful and strait-laced, witty and rueful, reserved and operatic. David Rain's clever mixture of fact and famous fiction puts a new spin on the 'butterfly effect.'" - Andrew Solomon, National Book Award winner and author of New York Times bestseller The Noonday Demon

"The more I read The Heat of the Sun, the more I admired it: for its imaginative reach, its emotional power, and the lit-up beauty and exactitude of its writing. I thought it breathtakingly good." - Sue Gee, author of The Mysteries of Glass

"David Rain's striking debut novel manages the audacious feat of burying its soul of romantic tragedy inside a story of great theatrical invention and whimsy. The result is wholly original, and a lot of fun. Read it and the 20th Century may never look the same to you again." - John Burnham Schwartz, author of Reservation Road and The Commoner

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David Rain is an Australian writer who lives in London. He has taught literature and writing at universities, including Queen's University of Belfast, University of Brighton, and Middlesex University, London.

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