‘Sun House,’ the third novel by David James Duncan, author of ‘The River Why’ and ‘The Brothers K,’ is a spiritual epic about seekers who end up living on a large commune in western Montana
By John Williams

In 1992, a few months before Bill Clinton was elected president for the first time, David James Duncan published “The Brothers K,” a long, big-hearted novel about baseball, religion and the Vietnam War told through the lives of the Chances, a family in the Pacific Northwest. The book followed “The River Why” (1983), a bona fide cult classic about a young man named Gus and his spiritual and romantic and fly-fishing quests in the waters of Oregon.

The novels — with their wisdom-seeking, devotion to nature, vibrant family antics, old-fashioned storytelling, and enthusiastic use of vernacular, puns, exclamations and italics — had fervent fans, and fit on a shelf with a motley, crowd-pleasing, very American crew that includes Mark Twain, Edward Abbey, Norman Maclean and John Irving. (For the reason of energetic typography, you might throw in Tom Wolfe, too.) They left his readers wanting more.