It's 1974 in DeKalb County, Illinois and the planets have failed to align for Roy Conlon. Widowed and broke, his eight-year-old son Eric is suddenly a mystery to him. The boy has become aware of a sky awhirl with stars and of the universe outside his small-Midwestern town. And as powerful forces pull Eric away, Roy's efforts to hold onto his son are threatened by weakness, guilt, and his participation in a foolish crime.
Enter The Constellations, a novel of the diverging paths of a father and his son, and how each copes with the loss of the woman whose love and guidance held them together. Roy and Eric's parallel journeys take them through a landscape populated by long shot players and kitchen sink philosophers, by ruthless thieves and fierce protectors. A compelling novel of small town America in the shadow of Vietnam and Watergate, Cunningham's spare prose and deftly drawn heroes complete a portrait of our country reminiscent of Mark Richard and Jim Shepard. Scarred, divided, and damaged, his characters represent all of our false promises and failed dreams.