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Publisher's Summary

In this novel, Burke brings his brilliant feel for time and place to a stunning story of Appalachia in the early 1960s. Here Perry Woodson Hatfield James, a young man torn between family honor and the lure of seedy watering holes, must somehow survive the tempestuous journey from boyhood to manhood and escape the dark and atavistic heritage of the Cumberland Mountains.

©2013 James Lee Burke (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Dave
  • Stillwater Lake, NS, Canada
  • 04-09-13

Classic!

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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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The punt

A great listen, the performance sounded just like Henry Fonda. The story does Kentucky justice,as I was there 35 years ago training as a nurse midwife.
It doesn't paint a pretty picture, but a true one
I loved it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great history lesson

A great insight into the life and struggles of the coal mine workers in Appalachia.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin
  • Mabton, WA, United States
  • 07-30-17

Deeply moving story of the coal miners

shows the plight of the worker during the depression with vivid detail and a moving hero.

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Good listen

The ending was a relief yet disappointing. This book needs a sequel. Hope Burke can deliver.

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there is not much shining sun

The Book is set back in the early 1900's the main character is brutality honest, nobodies hero, and his own worst enemy. Times are beyond hard, and it doesn't get any better. The narrator Tom Stechschulte is fantastic , I've lost track of how many different voices he can do.
This book, I found myself thinking "why" more than once. Why would he do that!? why did he leave the only chance he had to get out of the depravity he grew up in!? didn't make any sense to me. but other than that it is a good book. and Tom stechschulte again, does a stellar performance.

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Great ending

Tough read as the protagonist is a difficult person to like. One of James Lee Burkes' better endings. A well performed and tightly written novel.

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Disappointed

Coonass did not translate to hillbilly. The books out west were a stretch, the band snapped. I can't wait for more Louisiana.

0 of 7 people found this review helpful