Approaching eighty, Rove MacNee sets out to write the story of his youth- " I will be forgiven, I' m sure, if I don' t remember things with stunning clarity." What memories clearly remain resonate within him like rolling thunder and shower down like rain in Sonny Brewer' s superb and richly rewarding new novel of fathers and sons, family and betrayal.
Set in the small gulf town of Fairhope, Alabama, this lyrical coming-of-age tale begins in the winter of 1941. Named for his father' s drowned Labrador retriever, Rove is a strong-shouldered and self-reliant sixteen-year-old, an uneven match for his volatile father, Captain Dominus MacNee. Though he sometimes wishes the whiskey-soaked man would be lost at sea, Rove himself is in danger of sinking in the troubled waters of his home life.
Navigating between memoir and memory, past and present, Rove reflects upon the people and pursuits that have influenced his life: his passion for fishing, where the toss of the net is more thrilling than the catch in the bucket; his much-loved grandmother, who gives him a copy of Huckleberry Finn, saying, " Boys sometimes run away, you know"; and Anna Pearl Anderson, " the prettiest girl on the Eastern shore, " who ignites in Rove the first flickers of romance. Yet his greatest treasure, perhaps, is his twenty-five-foot sloop, the Sea Bird. Given to him as a gift, the Sea Bird brings with it both the possibility of salvation and the threat of disaster. As Rove dreams of escaping his tumultuous surroundings, it becomes apparent that he can never truly shake the hold of his seaside home unless he confronts, head on, a startling truth.
Returning to the setting of his much-lauded debut novel, The Poet of Tolstoy Park, Sonny Brewer, once again, gives a skillful performance in the Southern storytelling tradition. A Sound Like Thunder is a magnificently crafted tale of a man revisiting the crossroads of his life, connecting the fragmented keepsakes in his heart and mind, and reemerging with a clear understanding of his defining moment.