2280 Bethany Road
DeKalb, IL 60115
Finalist, Midwest Book Award, Midwest Independent Publishers Association, 2012
“In a moment when post-modern behemoths with literary pyrotechnics are all that pass for novels, this short book focuses on a simple tale well told. The wonder of great minimalists is that they are able to achieve high levels of accuracy while drawing very little attention to their role as author. In Constellations, Kevin Cunningham demonstrates just this kind of talent.”—Joseph G. Peterson, author of Wanted: Elevator Man
It’s 1974 in DeKalb County, Illinois, and the planets have failed to align for Roy Conlon. Widowed and broke, he finds that his eight-year-old son Eric is suddenly a mystery to him. The boy has become aware of a sky awhirl with stars and of the universe outside his small Midwestern town. And as powerful forces pull Eric away, Roy’s efforts to hold onto his son are threatened by weakness, guilt, and his participation in a foolish crime.
Enter The Constellations, a novel of the diverging paths of a father and his son, and how each copes with the loss of the woman whose love and guidance held them together. Roy and Eric’s parallel journey takes them through a landscape populated by long-shot players and kitchen sink philosophers, by ruthless thieves and fierce protectors. A compelling novel of small-town America in the shadow of Vietnam and Watergate, The Constellations, with its spare prose and deftly drawn heroes, completes a portrait of our country reminiscent of the work of Mark Richard and Jim Shepard. Scarred, divided, and damaged, Kevin Cunningham’s characters represent all of our false promises and failed dreams.
Kevin Cunningham lives and works in Wilmette, Illinois.
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