The Signal Flame: A Novel
Some families have more than their fair share of sadness. The Konar family, of the Endless Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, has been bludgeoned by three generations of men going off to war. The family patriarch, Jozef Vinich, emerged from World War I and moved to America. His daughter, Hannah, married Bexhat Konar, who was imprisoned for desertion during World War II–and was then killed by a neighbor back home who thought he was shooting a deer. When the novel begins, we find that Bexhat and Hannah’s younger son, Sam, is MIA in Vietnam. Now Hannah and her older son, Bo, are alone on the family homestead, doing their best to move forward in a life mired in endless waiting.
When Ruth, Sam’s pregnant fiancee, suffers an unimaginable tragedy and moves in with Hannah and Bo, the waiting takes on a new shape. Old feuds begin to heal, and unanswerable questions are, finally, set aside. The violence that has jolted their lives begins to settle, and what emerges in its wake is almost enough to make up for the past. Taking place between Easter and Christmas in 1972, The Signal Flame draws readers deep into one family’s plodding determination to make it from day to day, and that they rarely dream of happiness makes it all the sweeter when it appears.