A Sound Like Thunder: A Novel

Front Cover
Ballantine Books, 2006 - Fiction - 273 pages
0 Reviews
Approaching eighty, Rove MacNee sets out to write the story of his youth– “I will be forgiven, I’m sure, if I don’t remember things with stunning clarity.” What memories clearly remain resonate within him like rolling thunder and shower down like rain in Sonny Brewer’s superb and richly rewarding new novel of fathers and sons, family and betrayal.

Set in the small gulf town of Fairhope, Alabama, this lyrical coming-of-age tale begins in the winter of 1941. Named for his father’s drowned Labrador retriever, Rove is a strong-shouldered and self-reliant sixteen-year-old, an uneven match for his volatile father, Captain Dominus MacNee. Though he sometimes wishes the whiskey-soaked man would be lost at sea, Rove himself is in danger of sinking in the troubled waters of his home life.

Navigating between memoir and memory, past and present, Rove reflects upon the people and pursuits that have influenced his life: his passion for fishing, where the toss of the net is more thrilling than the catch in the bucket; his much-loved grandmother, who gives him a copy of Huckleberry Finn, saying, “Boys sometimes run away, you know”; and Anna Pearl Anderson, “the prettiest girl on the Eastern shore,” who ignites in Rove the first flickers of romance. Yet his greatest treasure, perhaps, is his twenty-five-foot sloop, the Sea Bird. Given to him as a gift, the Sea Bird brings with it both the possibility of salvation and the threat of disaster. As Rove dreams of escaping his tumultuous surroundings, it becomes apparent that he can never truly shake the hold of his seaside home unless he confronts, head on, a startling truth.

Returning to the setting of his much-lauded debut novel, The Poet of Tolstoy Park, Sonny Brewer, once again, gives a skillful performance in the Southern storytelling tradition. A Sound Like Thunder is a magnificently crafted tale of a man revisiting the crossroads of his life, connecting the fragmented keepsakes in his heart and mind, and reemerging with a clear understanding of his defining moment.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review


User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Brewer's second novel (after The Poet of Tolstoy Park, 2005) is a problematic coming-of-age story. The setting is the same: Fairhope, Ala., on Mobile Bay. It's November 1941, and our narrator, 16-year ... Read full review

A sound like thunder: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

For 16-year-old Rove MacNee, life in Fairhope, AL, in the winter of 1941 is idyllic, but things are about to change. War is imminent, and Roveƒ¯‚¿‚½s father, the formidable and violently ... Read full review


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3

24 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

Sonny Brewer is the author of The Poet of Tolstoy Park. He started Over the Transom Bookshop in Fairhope, Alabama and is board chairman of the nonprofit Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts. He is the former editor in chief of Mobile Bay Monthly; he also published and edited Eastern Shore Quarterly magazine, edited Red Bluff Review, and was founding associate editor of the weekly West Alabama Gazette. Brewer is the editor of the acclaimed annual five-volume anthology of Southern writing Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe.

Bibliographic information