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In the rich tradition of Steinback's Grapes of Wrath comes this novel by one of my favorite writers. However, this is not a detective story. No Dave and Clete. no Billy Bob. It is a coming of age novel of a young man,Perry James, in a Kentucky mining town in the mid-twentieth century. To the Bright and Shining Sun (interesting title), in true Burke manner, vividly portrays the life of poverty and despair amid the fighting and violence between the coal industry owners and unions. The story is not black and white - the unions are as ineffectual as the owners are corrupt and amoral. It is about one young man's attempt to dig himself out of the cycle of deprivation and to revenge his father's death.
One other point: although Will Patton is my favorite Burke narrator, Tom Stechschulte does an admirable job bringing this gritty story to life.
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