Bloomsbury £18.99

Truth Like the Sun, By Jim Lynch

If all the world's a fair, here is its creator

In the early Noughties a trio of jaunty US writers appeared, each sporting their own idiosyncratic take on the contemporary novel. David Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan), Ben Sherwood (The Man Who Ate the 747) and Jim Lynch (The Highest Tide) formed a new wave. A decade on and Schickler was last heard of coaching a Jesuit school cross-country team, while Sherwood suffered the ignominy of having his second offering, The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud, turned into a dismal vehicle for Zac Efron. Lynch, however, has managed to stay the course and with the publication of his third novel, Truth Like the Sun, mature into a consummate stylist.

The Highest Tide, Lynch's debut, was a coming of age tale wrapped in a tribute to the joys of messing around in rock pools, lagoons, coves and all the other saltwater havens of this world. It was fresh, moving, funny and, most of all, decisively true to its small town heart. It's a surprise then to find Lynch take to the city in Truth Like the Sun.

The metropolis in question is Seattle. The story see-saws between 1962, as the World's Fair comes to town, and 2001, when the approaching 40th anniversary of the exhibition shines new light on the whole shebang. Roger Morgan is the fair's fictionalised architect, a glad-handing show-boater who meets, greets and gets his way. His vision was not only to put Seattle on the map but to keep it there. But the new millennium shows that his dream hasn't materialised, so at his 70th birthday he announces that he's running for Mayor. Helen Gulanos, a young reporter with an eye on a scoop decides to discover the man behind "Mr Seattle". "By now it was a myth," realises Helen, "and with that realisation she felt a rebellious desire to expose the truth about the fair."

The fair, whose formal title was "Century 21 Exposition", really was a hoot. Elvis rocked, astronauts visited and the world watched as the city in the wilds became a big-league hitter. Twenty-first century life, by the fair's premonition, was to be a Jetsons-style existence of "houses with push-button windows, disposable dishes and helicopter pads in cities shielded by weather domes".

Lynch captures the make do and mend mentality of the participants, and what a seismic shift that summer created for the region. He is also particularly skilled at describing the precarious times in which Roger flourished. Things were smoking over in Cuba and the world was warming up to a Cold War.

Roger's mantra back in the day was that "every endeavour, big and small, begins with an idea". Helen takes her lead from Balzac's belief that behind every great fortune is a great crime. The parry and thrust between journalist and subject is expertly handled. The obvious cultural touch point for Lynch's novel is Citizen Kane, and as Helen searches for her Rosebud revelation, readers are confronted with the American obsession with ambition in all its tarnished glory.

Bloomsbury £18.99

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'