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The Heat of the Sun: A Novel
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The Heat of the Sun: A Novel

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  44 reviews
An exuberant debut that sweeps across the twentieth century—beginning where one world-famous love story left off to introduce us to another

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, t
ebook, 304 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published July 1st 2012)
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A friend once told me she felt envious of anyone reading a certain well known classic American novel for the first time, as she knew they had that wonderful story ahead of them, just waiting to be discovered. The Heat of the Sun leaves me with the same sentiment. Once finished it brings that bitter-sweet feeling of satisfaction at finishing the book, whist knowing I will miss the characters tomorrow.

The characters are as compelling as the historical backdrop is haunting. Standing next to Woodle
Nancy Oakes

as usual this is the short version; a longer version of this discussion can be found here.

Australian author David Rain adds a rather lengthy postscript to the story of Puccini's Madame Butterfly with this novel, in which his subject is the little boy taken away from Nagasaki by Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton and his wife Kate after the boy's mother's suicide. The Heat of the Sun is an ambitious book, one which covers the lives of both the narrator, Woodley Sharpless, and the boy in question, Be
Graeme Aitken
This very original debut novel takes its inspiration from the storyline of Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, and unfolds what became of the young boy, born to Butterfly and her American naval officer lover Pinkerton. Rain’s conceit is that another character from the opera, Sharpless (the U.S. consul to Japan) also had a son, Woodley. These two boys, Woodley and ‘Trouble’ (aka Ben Pinkerton), first encounter one another at boarding school. Woodley quickly falls under the spell of the confident, c ...more
Inspired by Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Luigi Illica's libretto, and other works on which it was based, David Rain has read into the story of Butterfly, expanded it and continued it towards the end of the C20th through the lives of Pinkerton's son Benjamin and Sharpless' son Woodley. Woodley and Ben, known as Trouble, first meet as young boys at Blaze Academy. Bookish Woodley is immediately drawn to the charismatic and extravagant Trouble, although it takes a while, and a turn of events, for ...more
Diane S.
I loved the way this book started. The two boys meeting at a boarding school, although some of the things that happened at the school were rather horrific. Than they meet up again , years later and renew their friendship. I might have appreciated this more, and I really wish I had re-read Madame Butterfly because I could have understood who some of these characters were meant to be portraying. The prose was great and the book included some widespread history, the Manhattan Project, the bombings ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Blair marked it as unsuccessful-attempt  ·  review of another edition
Can't see myself wanting to continue with this at all. In fact I've been actively avoiding it.
I have said before that my iPod on 'shuffle' has long been my soothsayer, my horoscope, my Magic 8-Ball. But never have I had such a strong musical indication that I should read something as I did this. As I was browsing the Kindle Post, and deliberating over buying this, the Daily Deal, what should come on but, not part of Madame Butterfly itself (which I do also own), but a song from its musical theatre progeny Miss Saigon. It was John's (Sharpless') rousing speech 'Bui-doi', where he asks his ...more
I was intrigued by the idea of a novel following the son of Lt. Pinkerton and his geisha from the famous opera Madame Butterfly. The book is organized like an opera with acts instead of chapters. The narrator, the son of Pinkerton's friend in Japan, Woodley Sharpless tells of the encounters he has throughout his life with "Trouble" Pinkerton. Intertwining their story with the historical events and ultimate war between America and Japan gives added theatrics to the dramatic tale.

David Rain writes
Laura Smith
Perhaps I expected too much.
Perhaps I'm the wrong target for this book.
But as much as the harmonies of Miss Saigon haunt my heart, as frequently as their refrains run through my vein, I was eager to hear the story of what becomes to the boy, the boy revealed at the end of Madame Butterfly at the end of Miss Saigon. What is his story? What becomes his story?

But sadly, The Heat of the Sun, didn't give me what I was looking for in Trouble. I never found his motivations, his dreams, his passions. In
Alex Nagler
"Con onor muore"

This is the final aria of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." It is here that the story ends - Cio-Cio San has committed ritualistic suicide, Sorrow sits blindfolded, American flag in hand, and Pinkerton rushes in, too late to stop it all. Cut to black, applause applause applause, and the opera is over.

Only in David Rain's "The Heat Of The Sun," that's not at all where it ends. That's just the unwritten beginning. This is a book where working knowledge of an piece of the European opera
To start, in compliance with FTC guidelines, I must disclose that I received the an advance reader's copy of the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

When I first opened the book and saw that it was set out like an opera rather than having "proper" chapters, I thought it would be rather pretentious. I am not always a fan of authors using these ideas to present their story. In this book, however, it worked perfectly. The story flowed exactly through the sections as an opera would and it r
I liked David Rain's The Heat of the Sun much more than I expected I would at the outset. It begins as a typical boys' boarding school narrative which is not one of my favorite genres -- seems to me they're all pretty much the same story over and over. Fortunately, it gets better once the boys are out of school and on their own in the years leading up to World War II and during the war. I enjoyed all the many plot twists and turns, even though some of the coincidental meetings and developments w ...more
Sam Sattler
David Rain’s debut novel, The Heat of the Sun, is an unusual and ambitious one: an updating of one of the most famous fictional romances of the twentieth century, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. As the opera begins, in 1904, an American Naval officer is marrying a young woman in Nagasaki, Japan. The officer returns to the United States soon after the wedding without knowing that his Japanese bride carries his child. The young woman bears a son but, for complicated reasons, ends up taking her own lif ...more
I finished this book feeling quite heartbroken, and unsure why. It took me a little while to get into, but I soon found myself swept up in the lives of Sharpless and Trouble.

I wasn't really curious as to what was going to happen next, instead I felt as though as I was on the journey with the characters, experiencing things as they did; it was a hard book to put down.

At the end of the book I felt a great sense of regret for something lost, and I still can't quite figure out why. It's wonderful wh
A naval lieutenant had an affair with a Japanese geisha which resulted in a son. The lieutenant and his wife are determined to raise the son in the U.S. as their own, but, in the years that follow, the boy's rebellious nature and sense of being an outcast leave him longing for more than his parents can ever provide.

The first half, set during the 20s, was phenomenal and then the story skips ahead to WWII. Something seemed to disconnect halfway through and it completely lost me in the Los Alamos
Jill Lapin Zell
I won this book in a giveaway, and to be honest, was curious about it after reading the synopsis, but unsure as to whether or not I'd like it. I was pleasantly surprised, and although the beginning was slow for me, I grew to love the eloquent prose and the intriguingly strong characters. Although the author draws inspiration from Puccini's opera, one does not have to be at all familiar with that story to appreciate this novel. It can be read, enjoyed and appreciated merely at face value. The sto ...more
Is really good in parts but gets a little boring and goes on a bit.
Michele Tucker
Enjoyed the characters and their storyline but not my favorite.
This book, or rather the first 80 pages I read of it, didn't work for me. The premise is better than the book: it's about Madama Butterfly & Pinkerton's son, Trouble. His Nick Carraway- type friend, Sharpless, does the storytelling. Normally, I quite like this kind of fanfiction, metafiction, story about a story, but this writer didn't make these characters, situation, or plot compelling or engaging for me.

I got this ARC from Amazon Vine in January 2013, but clearly it does work for others
I stumbled onto this novel and was pleasantly surprised at the writing and the story spanning more than 60 years of American history through the intersecting lives of two boys who meet at prep school. The oddly charismatic boy known aptly as "Trouble" is the son of a powerful New York senator but his heritage is more complex and his connections have him on the edge of major world events. A clever tapestry of Asian and Western cultures, characters and events.
Maria Longley
A postscript to a Puccini opera and a sprawling novel travelling through many historic events. "So what did happen to the boy?" is an interesting question and there is a lot of area covered by the novel. Perhaps a bit too much for me to keep up with the whole time. Sharpless seemed a bit insipid at times and I couldn't really work out why he was the friend of all these people. His aunt is great though and there was plenty in the story to keep me occupied.
I loved the idea of this book - what happened to the son of Madame Butterfly? A classic tale of love and the fruit of that love Ben "Trouble" Pinkerton has his tale related by author David Rain in a book that starts off so well you know it's just going to be a great read - and then it's such a disappointment.

I really had to struggle to stay with it and ended up wishing for a different story for the offspring of such a spellbinding love story.
This is an unusual novel with an incredibly huge scope which was, for me, mostly fascinating, at times hardly believable as coincidences lead to what seemed to me to be an overly imagined tale. But, that said, I let myself be carried along and could appreciate the operatic quality that all of this generated. And, what could be more fun than imagining the lives of characters left behind after the tragic story of an opera has been told?
This is an excellent novel; it has the feel of classical literature. In a sense, it continues the story that many of us remember from Madame Butterfly. The story has a wonderful pace and is intriguing. "Trouble" Pinkerton is central to the novel; he is the son of Madame Butterfly. It is impossible to share a lot without giving the story away. This book, though, is worth a read especially due to its original and creative approach.
Who knew that a very personal story could be at the epicentre of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs? Rain's book covers the roaring 20s all the way to the post-war era, but it centres on the friendship of two boys from boarding school. Their past and present intertwine so graciously as the friendship of a lifetime unfolds in Rain's delicate handling of war and love. It is not an epic but it contains epic emotions.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Betsy Brainerd
The writing is exceptionally good. I thought that would make me love the book by the end, but instead, I was disappointed that I never quite understood the motivations of any of the characters. No one seemed like a fully-formed, believable person. But I suspect the author was going for something other than that and based on other reviews, I should read it again!
A wonderful book that weaves a magnificent tale by leaping from Puccini's Madame Butterfly to imagine what happens to her son. The Heat of the Sun captures the ethos of the time with richly drawn characters and a luscious story line in a highly theatrical and entertaining style. I highly recommend.
David Rain has a beautiful vocabulary making the read interesting and engaging. The plot was at times hard for me to follow and although the book is about the character called Trouble, I was most drawn to the character Sharpless who narrated the story. I am excited to read more from Mr Rain.
I really enjoyed the second two thirds of the book. The first third just dragged on and on. I, particularly enjoyed the representation of Oppenheimer. Very interesting. What a terrible time that had been. What a way to win a war at the expense of so many innocent people.
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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.

Twitter: @DavidRainAuthor
More about David Rain...
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