2 March 2015

Review #153: The Heat of the Sun by David Rain



My rating: 5 of 5 stars



“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” 

---- Bob Marley



David Rain, an Australian author, penned his debut novel, The Heat of the Sun based on Puccini's famous opera called, Madame Butterfly, undying friendship, bombings on Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki and about those relationships which are even stronger than blood. Yes, this is a historical novel set in the twentieth century across America and Japan, surrounding the life and times of a boy named Trouble.


 
Synopsis:
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.

David Rain gives a new edge to the opera, Madame Butterfly, which is about a Japanese geisha, Butterfly, who falls and finally marries the U.S.Naval officer, Benjamin Pinkerton, who then returns to his homeland, after the wedding night. Years later, Pinkerton returns back to Japan to claim his blond-haired boy named, Trouble, with his American wife, Kate Pinkerton, as a result, Madame Butterfly kills herself in front of her child. So what happens to this boy called, Trouble, is Rain's novel, The Heat of the Sun is all about.

Woodley Sharpless, a crippled boy left orphaned after his father's death, goes to an all-exclusive boarding school, Blaze Academy, in Vermont, where he befriends Augustus Le Vol and Ben “Trouble” Pinkerton. And the best catch about Trouble is that he has always lived up to the meaning of his name. And as Sharpless and Trouble's friendship bond deepens, Rain unfolds the journey of Trouble through Woodley's eyes, from the first time when Trouble invites to his house in New York to the time when Trouble falls head-over-heels in love to the time when Sharpless fells a connection to Trouble's past to the time when Trouble learns about the secrets of his past to the time when trouble to the time when Trouble sets sail to find his roots, thus losing all touch with his only friend, Sharpless, to the time when they meet again years later, but will their friendship ever be the same again?

Rain's narrative is articulate and and the way he described his scenes are more like a classic movie unfolding right in front of your eyes. The intricate detailing style is quite evident in almost all the passages in the book. The prose is elegant thus keeping you gripped to the plot. Moreover, Rain explores the consequences of American nationalism, problems of Japanese imperialism, uproar of a nuclear kingdom as he travels through the plateaus of Sharpless and Trouble's relationship.

Sharpless, a wannabe writer, was in love with Trouble from the very first time, yet they were friends and their bond was stronger and deeper than any relationship. From Woodley's eyes, we see Trouble's beauty in almost everything. There is also Augustus Le Vol’s account about Trouble being the Japanese prisoner of war is vivid, scary and so raw that it instantly captivates our mind with the horror. Moreover, the characters are crafted out strongly and those can be defined as always evolving in their own skin in the course of some famous historical events. I loved how the author evolved Sharpless from a boy to a grown adult within his narrative. The striking descriptions tele-ports you to the period of roaring twenties in the city Manhattan which is the center of a nuclear project, to the hot city of Los Alamos in Mexico to the oriental city of Nagasaki.

To be honest, at times, the pace became quite slow, but Rain's theatrical style of story-telling did not make us lose interest even for once.

Verdict: Read the debut novel of David Rain that explores the relationship between two young boys who then grow up to be distant from each other and how some consequences not only change them but also their relationship.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, David Rain, for giving me an opportunity to read and review his debut novel.
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Author Info:
David Rain is an Australian writer who lives in London. He is the author of the novels Volcano Street and The Heat of the Sun. He has written poetry, articles, and reviews. He has taught literature and writing at Queen’s University of Belfast, University of Brighton, and Middlesex University, London.
Visit him here


Book Purchase Links:


4 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this book or author, but I do like reading books centered around Pearl Harbour because I feel like personally, I don't know enough about that subject. Glad this one turned out to be such a good read!

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  2. Yeah me too never heard of the author, when I read his boo, but his writing style is really nice and the book has a lot of info about Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki nuclear attacks!

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  3. It's such a good book. I really recommend it.

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  4. Yes definitely! thanks Rebecca for stopping by!

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