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The Heat of the Sun

3.2  ·  Rating details ·  192 Ratings  ·  49 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 ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published July 1st 2012)
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Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“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 bo
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male-friendship
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 ☔
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a debut novel by a very talented writer. It would be a solid 3 and a half stars. David Rain manages to take the Madame Butterfly story and weave it into the 20th century with a lot of modern twists. The story starts at a boarding school in the 1920's and ends with a modern day memorial at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is an ambitious novel with many characters and a few too many plot twists. I found myself flipping back to previous chapters to try to understand some of the relationships. P ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meh
A different cover than shown. Regardless. didn't catch my interest, unfortunately.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
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
Sam Sattler
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-novel
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
Alex Nagler
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, history
"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
Laura Smith
Jan 15, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
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
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following the story of "Trouble", illegitimate son of Madame Butterfly and Lt. Pinkerton now living in America, this book tracks a sordid, glorious, exhausting trail through American prep school, the Roaring Twenties, and the second world war.

At fist, the coming-of-age prose reminded me of Knowles 'A Separate Peace', but soon I was reminiscing about F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby', and after that a style all its own. Narrated in the second person by Trouble's lame and less fortunate fri
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-deals
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
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
Jill Lapin-Zell
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Styles itself as a self-proclaimed American classic with grand sweeping prose, large gaps in narrative and frequent dropped lines of thought that expect you to make large mental leaps to keep up, but just ended up leaving me feeling frustrated at the author and as though much of what he was trying to get across was flying over my head or way below by conscious thought. Seemed like it was trying hard to be a modern Great Gatsby, so if you loved that you'll probably love this - I didn't, so I didn ...more
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
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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?
Maria Longley
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ma, 2013
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.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: toney-novels
the originality of this novel is really exciting. Even though it's written in a highly theatrical, operatic style with set pieces that read as if you're watching scenes of improbably overdone human emotions, it has a unnerving and uneasy historical undercurrent that comments, almost subliminally, on America and it's habit of interfering in far flung territories.
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2013
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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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