The Sun Collective
Harold and Alma Brettigan aren’t exactly happy. Exasperation, impatience, and misunderstanding weight their long marriage, and every day is a complicated swirl of devotion and capitulation. They deal very differently with the disappearance of their son, Timothy. Alma actively searches for him; Harold, while denigrating Alma’s determination, thinks he sees Timothy everywhere. The solidity of their daughter’s life is a small comfort in the face of Timothy’s absence. Alma finds herself drawn to a group called the Sun Collective, which, on the surface, seems to be a group of passionate do-gooders set on creating a better world. Also, part of the Collective are Christina, addicted to a drug called Blue Telephone, and her quasi-boyfriend Ludlow. But it turns out that the Collective isn’t all positivity, and Timothy isn’t entirely missing. Once the Sun Collective enters their lives, the Brettigans’ quiet existence will never be the same.
Through alternating points of view, Baxter examines the crooked path people take as they seek meaning and fulfillment, and in these characters, we see the many ways such a quest can go badly awry. Relationships aren’t easy to begin, or to end; families aren’t easy to keep together; and the only certainty, it seems, is that we can never fully know what’s happening beneath the surface of other people’s lives. Baxter’s portrayal of American society is always necessary–perhaps never more than now.
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