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The Heat of the Sun    by David Rain order for
Heat of the Sun
by David Rain
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Opera fans are going to be better off with this story, especially if they have seen Puccini's Madame Butterfly. What happened to that boy named Trouble? David Rain has imagined a fairly complicated answer, formulated as a theater piece. Non-opera lovers have to wait until after Act Two to get a full understanding of what is going on.

Trouble is the son of Lt. Pinkerton's brief liaison with a young Japanese girl. Raised by Pinkerton and his American wife Kate, he grows into an extraordinary youth who senses that his parents have not told him everything. The narrator of the novel, Woodley, is a cripple who can't help admiring Trouble, even though it costs him many a heartache. Woodley always seems to be around Trouble at important junctures; that way we are able to see what becomes of Trouble once he figures out his heritage. Because the story takes place during World War II, there are important consequences for all of them.

Rains has set himself the pretty difficult goal of weaving the fictional account of Trouble and his family into a very real and sometimes horrific time. Using Woodley as narrator is clever since he also has a distant relationship to the story. But seen through Woodley's eyes, things can be a bit too enigmatic. Though Rain helps us understand the events of that time, we do not understand all of what is going on with the characters.

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