The Heat of the Sun, by David Rain
The Heat of the Sun
If you’re familiar with Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly you’ll know that the geisha Cio-Cio-San dies in the third act, despairing that her American lover, Lieut Pinkerton, has abandoned her and their son. But what happened next? David Rain gamely takes up the story a little after Puccini left off, with the sons of the opera’s American men meeting at the exclusive Blaze Academy in Vermont. The narrator, Woodley Sharpless, and Ben “Trouble” Pinkerton make an odd pair, but their lives have been destined to converge since before they were born, and we follow them from their schooldays into the frivolous 1920s, then on to the second World War, the Manhattan Project and the aftermath of American colonialism. This book is a thing of beauty: Rain constructs the story like an opera libretto, with an overture, four acts and an intermission. Swinging through the decades, intermingling cultural and political developments, Rain is subtle and assured, a writer of unquestionable talent. Do yourself a favour and read this wonderful book now.