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.
Kevin Catalano was born in Chittenango, NY, and met all of the surviving Munchkin actors as a child. His stories have appeared in [PANK], Gargoyle Magazine, Used Furniture Review, storySouth, Surreal South, 13, Exigencies Anthology, and others. He received an MFA from Rutgers-Newark, and he lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.
"An arresting debut—it's smart, horrifying, yet brimming with heart. You will not be able to put it down."—Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
"I f*cking loved this book . . . Natural, conversational prose and characters that very well might live across the street from all of us populate this story of how a simple decision can define all the lives around us . . . I'll dare to bet this novel will be talked about for many, many years to come." —Brian Panowich, award-winning author of Bull Mountain
"This tale of loss, punishment, and the struggle for forgiveness grabs the reader by the throat and never lets go."—Publishers Weekly
"There is an unnerving knot of adrenaline that sizzles in your gut after reading the first page, taking you on psychological roller coaster ride into the unnerving darkness of the human soul, where redemption, regret, addiction, suffering, and loss haunt the characters of Chittenango, New York. Be warned, this is dark territory to trespass through and by the last page your brain will be rattled by the tense prose and bad ass storytelling penned by Kevin Catalano." —Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana, Donnybrook, and The Savage
"Ambitious and gripping, Where the Sun Shines Out examines not only how an act of violence can tear apart the heart of a town and a family, but how that heart can be repaired, stitch by stitch. Kevin Catalano is a writer with real promise." —Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone
"Where the Sun Shines Out is one of those rare stories that makes the world around you disappear—pulling you into a tense and dysfunctional narrative that ultimately leaves you shaking and spent. Kevin Catalano is an author to watch, a powerful voice that needs to be read." —Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration and editor of Exigencies
"I read this novel in one sitting. How does a person redeem a real life nightmare? Kevin Catalano portrays the full ramifications with an astute eye and great wisdom. He can't write his next book fast enough for me." —Alice Elliott Dark, author of In the Gloaming and Think of England
"Through a series of emotional aftershocks, Kevin Catalano's Where the Sun Shines Out centers on identity, sexuality, and the abiding nature of family and home place; this arresting novel striking in an instant yet unspooling its trauma throughout interconnected stories gripped by prescience. Unsettling and deeply felt, a book that reminds us fate won't be outrun." —Erin McKnight, founding editor and publisher of Queen's Ferry Press and firthFORTH Books
"Where the Sun Shines Out is a beautifully written psychological thriller that explores with depth and compassion the psychological price of survival. Kevin Catalano has written a compelling novel full of memorable characters whose many perspectives demonstrate the far reaches of a single criminal act." —Lee Zacharias, author of The Only Sounds We Make