At forty, Cal Shaw has seen better days, that's for sure, but it wasn't always like this. He grew up with his brother, Alvin, and his sister Julia, in the small Maine town of Baxter, confident in his own capabilities, especially regarding music. He took his happy life for granted, as lucky children often do. But everything changed when he was ten and his dad died in a freak accident. Soon, trouble, mostly in the form of a violent stepfather, found a home—his home. As an escape, the Shaw kids turned to music lessons with family friend Uncle Gus, but it turns out no one can escape the violence and grief that rains down on the Shaws. Blue Summer is the story of the Shaw family's undoing, and Cal’s struggle to grow up in a world determined to break him. Even his music threatens to take him down with booze-filled nights and one-night stands. As Cal tries to make sense of his existence, living as far away from his family as he can, a snippet of melody comes to him—timeless and haunting. But before he can finish it, his past asserts itself with a phone call that Uncle Gus is dying and it's time to come home and face an altogether different kind of music. In this story, author Jim Nichols writes a riveting coming-of-age novel that examines the melancholy fate of a boy torn apart by loss and domestic abuse, and the justice he eventually delivers, all the while writing a beautiful melody to counter it all, a song he calls ‘Blue Summer.’
- 2020 Islandport Press
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