Excerpt from City of the Sun by David Levien, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

City of the Sun

by David Levien

City of the Sun by David Levien X
City of the Sun by David Levien
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2009, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Carol realizes how young the teacher is and that she is shattered, too. She feels she should try to comfort the woman, but how? "Can I get those things out of his locker?"

The teacher nods.




What passes for lawn in front of the seedy house is purple gray with Thursday-morning frost. Tad sits behind the wheel of a van, an aging Econoline with covered rear windows, listening to wacky morning radio. He's been keeping his distance from Rooster, who's up on the porch walking back and forth and smoking a cigarette.

An immaculate black Cutlass Supreme with smoked windows and custom t-top rolls up to the house. Out steps a stout man in a slightly shiny, several-hundred-dollar suit. He wears gold and sunglasses and has a bald head. He's Oscar Riggi. He's the man.

Rooster stops pacing.

Tad jumps out of the van and crosses through a cloud of Econoline exhaust. "Mr. Riggi, how you doin'?"

Tad kisses ass, but Rooster doesn't go for that. He knows he's not so easily replaced.

"Rooster. Tad. How are things? How's our package?"

"Everything's all fine and loaded, sir," Tad answers, looking involuntarily at the van and thinking instinctively of the carpet-lined cut in the floor. He pats the van's side.

Riggi looks through Tad as if he's an exhaust cloud. "Things went well, I trust, huh, Rooster?"

"Yeah, you can trust, Captain." Rooster flicks his cigarette butt in Tad's direction. Not at him, but in his direction. It's just far enough off so that Tad can't say anything.

Riggi climbs the few steps up to the porch and flips Rooster a fairly thick roll of small and medium bills rubberbanded together. Rooster thumbs it nonchalantly and tucks it away. Riggi cuffs him behind the head, not without affection.

"Hey, I can count on you, huh?"

"That's right, Oscar."

Tad comes up to join them, much larger than both men, yet feeble and intimidated in their presence. Without taking his eyes off Rooster, Riggi reaches into his jacket pocket and produces a packet of papers that he hands to Tad.

"There's the address of the other pickup. Instructions on what roads to take. Your destination is in there, too. Memorize it, write it in code, whatever, then destroy it. There's travel money in there also."

Tad stays with it, endeavors to look keen, on top of things. "Okay, okay."

"Call me every eight hours regardless of where you are. Got it? I want my phone ringing every eight hours."

"Got it."

"Where you gonna call me?"

"Wherever I'm at, eight hours."

Riggi gives a pinched smile, like he's tasting bad jelly. "You get the rest of your money when you're back."

"Yes, sir."

Riggi nods and turns to him. "You're still here?"

Tad hustles into the van and drives off. Riggi turns back to Rooster. "You have breakfast yet?"


 

THREE
Fourteen Months Later

PAUL GABRIEL POURS a second bowl of cereal. He reaches in and fishes out the prize. It's a rubber astronaut that dropped in water grows to eight and a half times its original size. He puts it with the rest of the prizes he's been saving for his son. There are more than a dozen now. Paul rubs a circle at his temple with his fingertips. He's graying there. He's pale. Tired looking, too.

Paul lowers his spoon. "Carol? Carol? Are you ready? We should get going." A moment later she enters the kitchen. Her outfit doesn't do much for her. No makeup; dark circles under her eyes. She crosses the kitchen, which is looking shabby. She pushes a sponge around the countertop and tosses it into a sink full of dishes. Carol stands next to Paul as he changes his mind about the cereal and pours it in the garbage. He has the sensation that he sees the two of them there, as if from above. They look shitty together, the house looks shitty, everything is shitty.

Published by Doubleday. Copyright © 2008 by Levien Works, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya

    A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.