A suspenseful and evocative tale of two brothers whose lives are altered irrevocably by the events of one long-ago summer
While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet Ligeia. A free-spirited, rebellious teenager from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town, she not only entrances the two brothers, but lures them into a struggle that reveals the hidden differences in their natures.
Eugene falls deeper under Ligeia’s spell as she introduces him to the thrills and pleasures of the counterculture—but just as the movement’s youthful optimism turns dark elsewhere in the country that summer, so does Eugene and Ligeia’s brief romance. Eugene grows further and further apart from his brother, and when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two boys becomes immutable.
Decades later, the once-close brothers now lead completely different lives. Bill is a gifted and successful surgeon, a paragon of the community, while Eugene is a failed writer and determined alcoholic.
When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is forced to remember that fateful summer and the girl he cannot forget. The deeper he delves into his memories, the closer he comes to finding the truth. But can Eugene’s recollections be trusted? And will the truth set him free and offer salvation, or destroy his damaged life and everyone he loves?
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Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and
New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels,
One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; three collections of poems; and four collections of stories, among them
Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and
Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O.Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.