Truth Like the Sun. By Jim Lynch. (New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.)
Recommendation submitted by:
Will Stuivenga, Cooperative Projects Manager, Washington State Library, Tumwater, WA.
Jim Lynch’s third novel, Truth Like the Sun, set in Seattle, bounces back and forth between 1962 and 2001, telling us a story that revolves around the Seattle World’s Fair and its fictional chief mover and shaker, one Robert Morgan, a.k.a. Mr. Seattle, a high-flying, entrepreneurial city booster, who maybe loves wine, women and gambling a little more than is good for him, but is largely responsible for building the iconic Space Needle, and for much of the success of the fair. Through his eyes, we witness the excitement of the fair, and its famous visitors, including Elvis Presley, President Kennedy, Ed Sullivan, John Glenn, and many more.
Back in the more recent present era, we follow the efforts of Helen Gulanos, would-be hotshot reporter, who’s recently arrived in town, and who hopes to secure her career with a hard-hitting, fully researched exposé of Mr. Morgan, who has just decided to run for mayor, after all these many years. Helen’s life is complicated by her single mother status, and the fact that she finds her target to be oddly compelling, and begins to develop a grudging respect for the guy, still charismatic after all these years, even as she strives to dig the dirt on him.
Native son author Lynch seems to be moving ever closer to main-stream fiction with each new novel. His first effort, The Highest Tide, a remarkable coming of age story set in the Olympia area, had an other-worldly almost SciFi aspect to the natural wonders it depicted.
His second attempt, Border Songs, still had more than a hint of the fantastic with its larger-than-life primary character, and its chain of slightly off-kilter, not-quite-believable series of events.
Now, in this third literary foray, the Space Needle itself seems to be the most fantastic element, as we move ever more firmly into the realm of big-city politics and finance as they are in real life. Truth Like the Sun is a great read, but misses some of that element of the fantastical that was so central to Lynch’s earlier novels. Nevertheless, strongly recommended, especially for those who enjoy fiction set in the Pacific NW.
Available at the Washington State Library, NW 813.6 LYNCH 2012
Available as an eBook
Downloadable talking book and Braille editions through NLS and WTBBL.
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