To The Bright And Shining Sun

To The Bright And Shining Sun A twisted spar whistled through the air like a cannon ball cutting through the tops of two maple trees The air became black with coal dust As the last echo of the explosion began to thin in the dista

  • Title: To The Bright And Shining Sun
  • Author: James Lee Burke
  • ISBN: 9780752842684
  • Page: 469
  • Format: Paperback
  • A twisted spar whistled through the air like a cannon ball, cutting through the tops of two maple trees The air became black with coal dust As the last echo of the explosion began to thin in the distance, the boy could hear the leaves from the trees settling to the ground around him In TO THE BRIGHT AND SHINING SUN James Lee Burke brings his brilliant feel for time A twisted spar whistled through the air like a cannon ball, cutting through the tops of two maple trees The air became black with coal dust As the last echo of the explosion began to thin in the distance, the boy could hear the leaves from the trees settling to the ground around him In TO THE BRIGHT AND SHINING SUN James Lee Burke brings his brilliant feel for time and place to a stunning story of Appalachia in the early 1960s Here Perry Woodson Hatfield James, torn between family honour and the lure of seedy watering holes must somehow survive the tempestuous journey from boyhood to manhood and escape the dark heritage of the Cumberland Mountains in this surging, bitter novel as authentic as moonshine New York Times Cover by Joe Servello

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      Published :2018-06-13T09:29:50+00:00

    1 thought on “To The Bright And Shining Sun”

    1. It is the early 1960's, and work is scarce in the Kentucky coal mines. Having gone on strike for something more than the pittance they are currently drawing, these miners are desperate men struggling to feed their families and they don't cotton to those who cross the picket lines. With the black coal dust etched into the lines of their faces, in the back of their throats, and slowly clogging their lungs, they are not about to let strike breakers take their jobs. Perry James is 17, already a two- [...]

    2. Perry James is a boy in danger of becoming a man in the tradition of all the men before him. Kin to both Frank James and the Hatfields (as in Hatfields and McCoys), he has the pressures of life and the expectations of heritage bearing down on him. In the mining country of Kentucky, you must be tough to survive at all, and the evidence of what happens if you are not tough enough is all around you in every home and in every hollow. I was in physical pain through most of this novel. I felt suffocat [...]

    3. Before this was chosen as a group reading choice I had no idea that James Lee Burke had written any books that weren't part of his Dave Robicheaux or Hackberry Holland series. It’s one of Burke’s first books, based in the coal towns of Kentucky. Perry James is called home from Job Corps training to the deathbed of his father after mining company thugs set off a bomb at a union meeting. A descendant of both Frank James and Devil Anse Hatfield, Perry is not one to take his father’s killing l [...]

    4. This is a very linear plot and once aware of what the characters are like it follows a predictable course, except for the ending. Though it is classified as a mystery, if I view it instead as a historical fiction it gains an extra star in my rating. The writing and the author's skill are first caliber. It does feel like a story that the author felt he must document. Set in the coal mines of Kentucky in the 1960's its focus is the conflict between union miners and the mine owners determined to br [...]

    5. As much as I enjoy reading the Dave Robicheaux crime canon for its atmospheric rendering of the Louisiana bayou, I'm occasionally pulled up short by its tough-guy police-beat dialog -- ''queer bait", "brain pan", etc. -- too purple for its purpose and ill-suited to Robicheaux's quiet dignity. But we don't see purple here. In this early Burke fiction set in and around Harlan county in eastern Kentucky, the descriptive writing is by turns spare and lyrical, the earthy exchanges articulate and scal [...]

    6. Burke does a fabulous job with the details of the landscape. He seemed to capture the place and area perfectly. I enjoyed the storyline but it was quite depressing the situations the characters were privy to. Lots of violence and revenge in play for my first read by Burke. I found it somewhat disappointing that most of the characters could not rise above their situation.

    7. I'll begin by saying that James Lee Burke is in my opinion perhaps the finest thriller writer in the world and his main creations - Dave Robicheaux and Billy Bob Holland - will surely become as famous in literary history as Philip Marlowe or Lew Harper, or Sam Spade.This is not a thriller however.To The Bright and Shining Sun was the second JLB novel I read. I was expecting something similar to a Robicheaux novel but this is instead set in the coal mines of Appalachia and the work camps of the 2 [...]

    8. Perry Woodson Hatfield James' family has worked in the coal mines of Kentucky for generations but the 1960's in the Cumberland Mountains are especially hard times. Once poor families are now destitute as Union strikes and eventually mine modernization force men out of work. It's easy to see the Grapes of Wrath comparison here, and to know the Hatfield ( as in Hatfield and McCoy) in Perry's name wasn't inadvertently added. At 17 he is young and tough, and offered enough assistance that it seems h [...]

    9. My first Burke, and the dude can write. This is one of those wrenching hard luck, hard times stories where you can feel yourself having an anxiety attack on the guys behalf. But there is also a lot of beauty here, and a lot of depth. Burke doesn't sermonise, pass judgement or whitewash history, and this is a bleak, authentic depiction of an Appalachian mining community, the moonshiners, boozers, and a life with no choice and a whole lot of rage. Great last paragraph.

    10. Burke’s novel encapsulates the struggle of the coal miners in Kentucky, who hope for better job conditions and better wages. We are thrust into this struggle and fight within the first pages of the novel.After finishing this novel, I’ve been thinking quite often about the title. What is the significance, I ask myself? I looked up song titles and there are several named “To the Bright and Shining Sun”, one bluegrass and one from an Irish band, The Walls, a top ten hit in Ireland in 2006. [...]

    11. If you’re a fan of James Lee Burke, you might enjoy this early (1989) long short story of life in the mining communities in eastern Kentucky in the 60's, where mining companies controlled all aspects of life and labor strikes left families penniless, relying of government handouts and slim profits from the sale of moonshine made back in the hollows. “Deep Down Dark,” a current bestseller of 33 men buried in a Chilean mine, is a dry description of working life in the mines compared to Burke [...]

    12. My first James Lee Burke ! I wish I had read these in a series ! I love to watch an author develop his main character over time in his series as with Reaubexeau. Great book ! Any one who loves a good mystery will like this and it is different . I would not mind tackling some Ace Atkins and Greg Ilies now too !

    13. This is one of James Lee Burke's early works and the reading of a character who lives in the poverty stricken area of Kentucky coal mines was reminiscent of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath."Like Steinbeck's novel, we follow an impoverished family in an area controlled by coal mine owners. Miners who want to be represented by the union are blackballed and unable to find work.The story begins as Perry Woodsen Hatfield James is helping three other men to set off an explosion that will close a mine [...]

    14. There are two things that really struck me about this novel. The first is the writing, which feels so authentic and real that I couldn't help but appreciate it. The second is the almost overwhelming despair that pervades this story.The writing is wonderful. Burke brings the characters to life with rich, realistic dialogue that always rings true. It's rare to find dialogue this good. It's full of regionalisms and has that southern twang, but not so much that it overwhelms the meaning, or makes it [...]

    15. I enjoyed this book. I have read several of Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels and was not sure what to expect. This is not a detective story, it's a coming of age story of a young man in a mining town in Kentucky in the mid 20th century. Burke pulls no punches as he describes the mining life - the descriptions are frank and brutal. At the same time, there is beauty in it as well. Although it was probably 30 years after the Grapes of Wrath, not much had changed for these people.

    16. Another well written though dark and depressing early work from the author. This one is set in Kentucky coal country and revolves around a young man who is caught up in the union/company conflicts. Listened to the audio version which was very well read by Tom Stechschulte.

    17. Burke's second novel from 1970.Before he found fame with his long-running Dave Robicheaux series, Burke wrote this book about coal mining families in Appalachia. The son tries to get out, but is dragged about into a world of poverty, poorly paid, dangerous work, violence, and blood feuds. The setting is somewhat similar to both "Justified" and "Winter's Bone" and Burke's writing is suitably gritty and lean. Probably not for the reader new to Burke, this is a good, rare example of Burke working o [...]

    18. This book takes a close-up look at the violence and poverty of the coal economy of the mid 1960's. it also shows just how ineffectual unions can truly be. The coal mines are closed and it worker against owner, but in the midst of poverty Perry James tries to make a life for himself and his family. Even involving himself in illegal activity. When his father is killed, an innocent victim of the coal war, Perry seeks revenge. In the end Perry will find the answer he really desires. A good but not g [...]

    19. This is a gritty novel set in the coal fields of Appalachia in the 1950s. Poverty, illiteracy, pro-unionism and family confront big business, anti-union activity and mechanization in the mines. But the story is not black and white. It centers on Paul a young man caught between the pulls of family and his attempt to better himself. It is one of Burke's early novels (1971)and truly impressive in both the power of description of place and of character.

    20. Hmmm little disappointed with this one. It's about Perry, a dirt poor guy with aspirations to better himself. He lives in mining country which is rife with problems. After a man is accidentally killed when a mine is blown up by protesters Perry takes off. However the troubles continue and Perry is drawn back into the world he's just escaped. Well written as expected by this author, but I just found it dull and uninteresting,I skipped through a lot. Relatively short too.

    21. Very different from any other James Lee Burke I've read. Still lyrical descriptions of place. And very accurate about eastern KY. Wonder how he became familiar with that area? For me, it was particularly interesting to read about coal mining and unions because my paternal grandfather was a coal miner in northeastern PA.

    22. Unlike most of James Lee Burke's books that I've read, this is not a Dave Robicheaux mystery. It's the story of a coal miner and his family and the violence and deprivation coloring his life in the Kentucky coal fields. It's a good read, but quite depressing.

    23. Abject poverty, coal mines, unionization and mindless violence. How did people survive? How can people do this to others? James Lee Burke is brilliant.

    24. This was a great book to read after reading Hillbilly Elegy. Although it was fiction it contained many of the scenes described by JD Vance. Excellent writing although some of the passages were difficult to read.

    25. Compelling tale, this stand-alone novel is about the Cumberland coal miners living in the hollows once trail-blazed by Daniel Boone (and by the Shawnee before him). Perry, the protagonist, has a way out, but it involves becoming dependent on the government in a way that is unacceptable to him. Burke is a genius with character and setting. There are no obvious solutions, not even obvious good guys and bad guys here, apart from the starving children that populate the hollows of East Kentucky and W [...]

    26. When I started the read I wasn't sure of the time period until I looked at Burke's web site and found the time period was in the early sixties. When the whiskey run is made the Chevy has a CMC truck engine installed but later the author corrects and changes it to a GMC. Chevy six engines were often replaced by the larger GMC six to increase performance. In the story it also has two four barrels and a four speed tannie on the floor. That is all possible but IMO highly unlikely as the GMC 302 hop [...]

    27. I haven't read any of James Lee Burke's thrillers. I'm not, in general, a thriller reader. Incredibly moving, real, and heart wrenching. If you like "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy, then this will really send shivers down your spine. Closer to "The Butcher Boy" by Patrick McCabe in grabbing the essence of character. This was a story I liked for the character more than it's style, and it did not go overboard in being poetic. Also, a great book if you want to be transported to another place.

    28. This isn't the best of Burke, by a long shot. It is a little slow moving and too detailed at times. The character development is superb. That's not a surprise for him, though. He does capture the coming of age tone of the coal mining industry and the families affected by strikes, poverty, loyalty, violence and determination in a time gone by. He give us food for thought and connects the dots with outlaws, stories, legends, facts and the greed of those who get too powerful. I like the storyline o [...]

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