The truths that matter: A review of Truth Like the Sun

  • A woman walks through the streets of Seattle in 2010.

    Theo Stroomer
 

In Truth Like the Sun, Washington novelist Jim Lynch straddles two Seattles: the little-known Western town in the 1960s, on the brink of exploding into a world-class city, and the modern Seattle of four decades later, at the height of the dot-com boom. He braids these incarnations of the city into an intricate narrative of politics and place, revolving around two characters brought together by their ambitions.

Roger Morgan, the mastermind behind Seattle's 1962 World's Fair, is young and stubbornly determined to make his town "the capital of the world." Nearly 40 years later, Morgan meets Helen Gulanos, an equally driven journalist, who is working on a dull assignment writing World's Fair retrospectives. But when Roger, at the age of 70, announces he's running for mayor, Helen starts digging deep in search of his past and of Seattle's own seedy beginnings. 

Truth Like the Sun comes together in alternating chapters that bridge the decades, connecting the past and present in ways that become clearer after Helen finds Roger Morgan's name linked to a younger, rowdier Seattle fraught with real estate scandals, gambling and corrupt law enforcement. Journalistic ambition and newsroom pressure spur Helen on, but Roger warns that her quest for the truth will, in the end, prove futile, telling her, "You could line up a whole bunch of truths about anyone and still miss the ones that really matter."

The key question facing Helen is an old and haunting one: What is truth? Lynch leaves just enough of it unexplained in his novel to tease readers around the next plot turn. But he makes them work hard, much as Helen does, to keep the facts straight.

In the end, the reader is likely to find the effort rewarding, even if the full truth about the past -- as it concerns both Roger and his city -- remains elusive, never fully exposed to the bright light of a blazing sun.  The truth Lynch crafts in Truth Like the Sun is beautiful in its murkiness, like the sun you'd expect to see through clouds on a misty Seattle morning.

High Country News Classifieds
  • DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST
    Idaho Walk Bike Alliance seeks a lover of bicycling, walking, and all modes of active transportation who willingly puts the car in the garage and...
  • COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
    Friends of Inyo - the Communications Director is a full-time permanent position that reports to the Executive Director and utilizes communication strategies and production skills...
  • INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS EDITOR
    High Country News seeks an editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk. This individual will lead a team of passionate journalists...
  • HIKING TO THE EDGE:
    Confronting Cancer in Rocky Mountain National Park. Poetry and photos on survival thinking. E-book and paperback available at Amazon.com.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has grown into America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more than...
  • IPLC RIGHTS AND EQUITY PROGRAM ASSOCIATE
    A LITTLE ABOUT US Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FUTURE WEST
    Future West seeks an executive director to lead this dynamic organization into the future. Based in Bozeman, MT this well-respected nonprofit provides communities in the...
  • PART-TIME EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian Location: Evanston, IL Salary Range: $45,000 @ 24 hours per week. send resume: [email protected] www.mitchellmuseum.org
  • COMMUNICATIONS LEAD
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR
    Since 1989, The Nature Conservancy in Alaska has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on....
  • OUTDOOR PROGRAM - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    St. Lawrence University seeks to fill the position of Assistant Director in the Outdoor Program. To view the complete position description, including minimum qualifications required,...
  • PUBLIC LANDS DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement Conserve Southwest Utah is seeking a dedicated advocate for conservation and public lands Public Lands Director a "make a difference" position Conserve Southwest...
  • FOR SALE
    Yellowstone Llamas Successful Yellowstone NP concession Flexible packages
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is seeking a full-time Director of Development & Marketing. This is a senior position responsible for the development of all marketing...
  • LEGAL DIRECTOR
    The Legal Director will work closely with the Executive Director in cultivating a renewed vision at NMELC that integrates diversity, equity, and justice. Black, Indigenous,...
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    The Vice President for Landscape Conservation leads Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing on four program areas: federal public lands management; private lands...
  • WE'RE LOOKING FOR LEADERS!
    As we celebrate 50 years of great Western journalism, High Country News is looking for a few new board members to help set a course...
  • WIND RIVER WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS RETREAT BY THE NATIONAL BIGHORN SHEEP CENTER
    Enhance your writing or photography skills with world-class instructors in the beautiful Wind River Mountains. All skill levels welcome. Continuing education credits available.
  • EARTH CRUISER FX FOR SALE
    Overland Vehicle for travel on or off road. Fully self contained. Less than 41,000 miles. Recently fully serviced Located in Redmond, OR $215'000.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    identifies suspect buried trash, tanks, drums &/or utilities and conducts custom-designed subsurface investigations that support post-damage litigation.