The Signal Flame

Scribner. Jan. 2017. 288p. ISBN 9781501126376. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501126406. F
OrangeReviewStarIn his debut novel, Sojourn, Krivák introduced Jozef Vinich, a young soldier coming of age in the trenches of World War I. Here, the story begins in the early 1970s with Vinich's death in the small Pennsylvania mountain town where he built both a career and family. His grandson, Bo, is left behind to care for his widowed mother and tend to his grandfather's mill and property. Along with the land, Bo also inherits the generational feud between his family and the Youngers that ultimately led to the death of his father. It's a dispute recently complicated by his brother, who is now missing in action in Vietnam, impregnating Ruth Younger, the daughter of his father's killer. Though buckling under the weight of grief and family expectations, Bo ultimately finds reconciliation and closure through the darkest of family tragedies.
VERDICT With studied language and a strong sense of place, Krivák elucidates how family structures and narratives fractured, maintained, and evolved between World War I and the Vietnam War. [See Prepub Alert, 8/1/16.]

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