A raw, unflinching literary debut for fans of Dennis Lehane and Tom Franklin examining the aftershocks of survival, and the price of salvation.
In the blue-collar town of Chittenango, New York, two young boys are abducted from a local festival and taken to a cabin in the woods. One is kept; one is killed. When they are next seen, ten-year-old Dean has escaped by swimming across Oneida Lake holding his brother's dead body.
As the years pass, the people of Chittenango struggle to cope with the collateral damage of this unspeakable act of violence, reverberations that disrupt the community and echo far beyond. With nothing holding it together, Dean's family disintegrates under the twin weights of guilt and grief, and the unspoken acknowledgment that the wrong child survived. At the center of it all, Dean himself must find a place in a future that never should have been his.
In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, Where the Sun Shines Out tells the story of a town and the inevitable trauma we inflict upon each other when we're trying our best. Exploring the bonds, and breakdowns, of families, Kevin Catalano's fearless debut reminds us that although the path to redemption is pockmarked, twisted, and often hidden from view, somehow the sun makes it through.
One summer day in 1992, 10-year-old Dean Fleming, the protagonist of Catalano's gripping first novel, is waiting in line with his brother, Jason, and their father for autographs of the Munchkins at the annual Chittenago, N.Y., festival celebrating L. Frank Baum, local hero and author of the Oz books. When their father briefly leaves them, Wayne and Carol Flowers abduct the boys and take them to a secluded cottage on Lake Oneida. Jason dies at the hands of their captors, but Dean manages to escape by swimming across the lake. When the police try to question Dean to gain his assistance in finding Wayne and Carol, he remains mute. Wracked with guilt over his failure to save his brother, he pushes his parents away. Even the people of Chittenago find themselves changed as their lives intertwine with Dean's in the years that follow. This tale of loss, punishment, and the struggle for forgiveness grabs the reader by the throat and never lets go.