The Heat of the Sun: A Novel
An exuberant debut that sweeps across the twentieth century—beginning where one world-famous love story left off to introduce us to another
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.
What people are saying - Write a review
Often, I immediately go to my computer as soon as I finish a book in order to write a review that is fresh in my mind. With David Rain’s The Heat of the Sun, such was not the case. Rather, I wanted to spend a day or two of reflection over the tremendous novel I had just finished reading. From the first introduction of orphan Woodley A. Sharpless, to the next of his life-long friend (and, at times, nemesis), Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton II, ‘Trouble,’ I realized I was embarking upon an epic story. It is a story that spans monumental periods of time in history. There are places ranging from Greenwich Village during the Roaring 20’s and events like the Great Depression, to name a few, that make this novel nothing less than epic. Yet Mr. Rain writes like a seasoned pro with his insistent ability to spoon feed his reader with background in the beginning—Blaze Boarding School for Boys in Burlington, Vermont. It is there where Sharpless and Trouble’s lives connect and so the story begins.
There is a third character, Le Vol, who plays somewhat of a supporting role throughout the story. However, Mr. Rain never wanders too far from the essence of his tale; the trials and tribulations of Sharpless and Trouble. They are two very diverse young men—Trouble, born into a life of privilege and Sharpless not nearly as fortunate. Trouble has all the characteristics of over abundance and petulance; yet, I found myself immediately drawn to his character. Mr. Rain struck a brilliant balance between charisma and bad boy in Trouble which allows the reader to recognize the depth and complexity of this character. Le Vol was repugnant to buy into any sort of affection for Trouble, but it did not persuade Sharpless to heed his warnings. Their connection was solid and a bond that would span many years beyond the Blaze School for Boys.
As Mr. Rain settles into the telling of his tale, he weaves information of Trouble’s lineage—his father, Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton (Democratic Senator from New York) and his mother Kate Pinkerton. However, the reader soon learns Kate is not his biological mother, but the appropriate socialite (and politically correct) fit to be matched with Trouble’s father. Trouble’s real mother was a Japanese geisha of whom Pinkerton senior seeded Trouble’s life. There are tumultuous years—years that touch upon varied wrong-doings, but there are also years of pain, solitude and frustration for both Sharpless and Trouble. There are plot twists and turns that spotlight eyebrow raising moments as much as there are periods of satisfaction and triumph for these two characters.
Throughout the story, however, there is an amazingly accomplished writer telling it. Mr. Rain has captured the true essence of writing in the sense that he has created a masterpiece of imagery, depth and range. The fact that The Heat of the Sun is David Rain’s debut novel is somewhat shocking to me. I honestly believe not only this body of work, but future endeavors will be stories that rest among that place reserved for some of the most notable authors. Truly, he is a 21st century novelist to pay attention to. Congratulations Mr. Rain. The Heat of the Sun is a stellar accomplishment and a story that is destined to be read by many.
Quill Says: Jump in and feel “The Heat of the Sun”…
(Reviewed by Diane Lunsford for Feathered Quill Book Reviews)