Debut Novel Shows Americans as Historically Divided

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Main characterÂ?s challenge is finding his place in a rapidly changing America. Mark SchafronÂ?s turn of the century story echoes to the present day.

Massachusetts author Mark Schafron’s debut novel—A Portion Under the Sun—is the story of one young man’s coming of age in a divided country that echoes to the present day of “red and blue” America.

“We’ve always been a divided nation,” says Schafron. “The post-Revolution era, the Civil War, the Progressive Era and the run-up to World War I of my book’s time show that. The information age amplifies that historical divide.”

“A Portion Under the Sun” (The Booklocker 2005) is about Y. C. Alley and his journey from life as a Tennessee farm boy in 1899, to the world of the New York and Boston music halls, to the heart of the California socialist movement, and finally to Massachusetts where his two wildly dissimilar worlds become one.

Along the way from Memphis, to New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, Alley lives among and learns from some of the most celebrated characters of the day. Challenging him are the conflicting pulls of city versus country and rugged individualism versus communal responsibility in a rapidly changing America—an America as divided as it is today. In addition, everywhere he goes he is under the shadow of being a Southerner in a time when the wounds of the Civil War were still fresh.

Surpassing that is his conflict in loving the charming but unstable Sally Booth. Moreover, like many men driven by ambition he makes enemies, and one won't be satisfied with anything less than Alley's life.

A Portion Under the Sun is the first in a family saga series that will chronicle the lives of two unique and eccentric families—the Alleys and the Booths—throughout the 20th Century.

Foster Dickson of ForeWord Reviews says, "A Portion Under the Sun is a clean and well-written novel that flows easily...the novel has much going for it: believable dialogue, characters and scenarios that are not too heavily stylized, and an everyman main character that the reader wants to see succeed."

A Portion Under the Sun is available from,, BookSense,, and local independent bookstores. A limited number of copies are available to magazine, newspaper, radio, TV, and Web book reviewers from the author.


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