Novel: Eighty Days of Sunlight


“moving and darkly comic….Equal parts hilarity and heartbreak in an accomplished debut.”  —  Kirkus Reviews

“Robert Yune is a wonderfully perceptive, imaginative, and funny writer. In Eighty Days of Sunlight, he gives us an illumined view of a factory where books are made, an exploration of the crucial bond of brotherhood, and an original homage to being young in Pittsburgh, a city that beautifully springs to life on the page, thanks to Yune’s uniquely observant narrator.”

Jane McCafferty, award-winning author of First You Try Everything and One Heart  

“crisp metaphors and endearing comedy…a tenacious debut novel.”
— Hot Metal Bridge  

What’s the book about?  From the publisher’s page:

After suffering a childhood “accident” involving a campfire and a bullet, Jason Han spends his childhood being cared for by a doctor in Princeton, NJ while the rest of his family lives in a factory town near Scranton, PA. Years later, as they prepare for college, Jason and his older brother, Tommy, reluctantly work together to investigate their father’s suicide.

Ultimately, the investigation concludes violently, and the brothers move to Pittsburgh where they attempt to cohabitate peacefully while working to settle their father’s complicated estate. Together, they explore the city once described as “hell with the lid off,” full of post-industrial landscapes and sultry coeds. The brothers also travel landscapes of guilt, betrayal, and secrets as they try to figure out what destroyed their family—and how to save what’s left of it.

Eighty Days of Sunlight is Robert Yune’s debut novel, a poignant coming-of-age tale that brilliantly tackles the prickly relationship between two brothers, exploring themes of trust, identity, and loss.

A review in Ploughshares

A review in Pittsburgh Magazine

An Alumni Review from the English Department at Pitt

Coverage  in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “Pitt writer’s ‘Eighty Days’ began as college paper”

Coverage  in the Pittsburgh City Paper: “Author Robert Yune discusses his debut novel”

Coverage  in the Pittsburgh City Paper: “An excerpt from Eighty Days of Sunlight”

The first blurb:

“Robert Yune is a writer to watch out for. No, Robert Yune is a writer to find right now. Robert Yune is unafraid of leaving blood and blood’s endless questions on the page. This is a book about brothers, about family, about adoption, about inheritance, about home. This is a book about books. This is a book about this world we live in. This is a book about you.”

— Matthew Salesses, author of The Hundred-Year Flood and Different Racisms

Chuck Kinder’s blurb:

Long fascinated with adolescence and coming-of-age stories, American readers have always held in particular esteem books which concern a young man’s development. From HUCKLEBERRY FINN and CATCHER IN THE RYE to THIS BOY’S LIFE and THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH, the experiences of a generation become crystalized in the movement of a single young man seeking to comprehend himself in light of the larger world. EIGHTY DAYS OF SUNLIGHT is a book which rises out of that tradition, yet remains forcefully original. It is a beautifully achieved novel, a language feast wrought in a prose warmed and contoured with a kind of sculptor’s touch, evoked in crystal-bright incidents that remain embedded in the reader’s memory and imagination.

In many ways Robert Yune’s compelling story of two Korean brothers growing up fatherless in America is a retelling of the ancient Cain and Abel or later Caleb and Aron story from EAST OF EDEN where two brothers both love and hate one another unto death. While deeply thoughtful and even philosophical at its heart, EIGHTY DAYS OF SUNLIGHT often reads with the intensity and suspensefulness of an action thriller. Driven to discover why their alcoholic father committed suicide, they find themselves confronting the hard issues that will ultimately shape their identity – the struggle for acceptance, the capacity for self-destruction, and especially the burden of guilt and the freedom of escape.

EIGHTY DAYS OF SUNLIGHT reads with the compelling immediacy of a memoir that is by turns tender and terrifying. But the true brilliance of Robert Yune’s writing lies in his superb control over both his sensibility and his craft which bend neither to sentimentality nor easy bitterness.

Quite simply, I love and admire this wonderful novel mightily, and boldly predict that it introduces us to a young writer who is on the threshold of becoming an important voice in American literature.

Chuck Kinder, author of New York Times-Notable novel Honeymooners and the memoir Last Mountain Dancer

Abby Geni’s blurb:

“EIGHTY DAYS OF SUNLIGHT is an intricate meditation on brotherhood, grief, and identity. Yune’s characters are real people, living real, complex, compelling lives. This book explores what it is to be male, to be human, to be family.”

Abby Geni, award-winning author of The Last Animal

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