With House of Sand and Fog, his National Book Award-nominated novel, Andre Dubus III demonstrated his mastery of the complexities of character and desire. In this earlier novel he captures a roiling time in American history and the coming-of-age of a boy who must decide between desire, ambition, and duty.
In the summer of 1967, Leo Suther has one more year of high school to finish and a lot more to learn. He's in love with the beautiful Allie Donovan who introduces him to her father, Chick — a construction foreman and avowed Communist. Soon Leo finds himself in the midst of a consuming love affair and an intense testing of his political values. Chick's passionate views challenge Leo's perspective on the escalating Vietnam conflict and on just where he stands in relation to the new people in his life. Throughout his — and the nation's — unforgettable "summer of love," Leo is learning the language of the blues, which seem to speak to the mourning he feels for his dead mother, his occasionally distant father, and the youth which is fast giving way to manhood.