Altar to an Erupting Sun is a near-future story of one community facing climate disruption in the critical decade ahead. Rae Kelliher is a veteran environmental activist and pioneer in the death-with-dignity movement. Facing a diagnosis of terminal illness, she engages in a shocking suicide murder, taking the life of an oil company CEO for his role in delaying responses to climate disruption. Seven years later, Rae’s friends and family gather at her Vermont farm community to try to understand her violent exit and the rapid social transformations around them.
Book Synopsis: Altar to an Erupting Sun
Rae Kelliher is an organizer of rituals and dance parties, a deeply intuitive medium, and a pioneer in the “death with dignity” movement. Her husband Reggie calls her an “instant party in a box,” and a “natural organizer and weaver of people.” Rae worked as a spirited environmental and human rights activist since the 1970s, and later in campaigns to reverse climate change.
In 2023, facing down a diagnosis of terminal illness, Rae engages in a shocking suicide murder, taking the life of an oil company CEO for his role in wielding the power of big oil to delay responses to climate disruption. Seven years after her death, in 2030, Rae’s friends and family gather at their Vermont farm to make sense of her violent exit. They reflect on the negative political blowback, but also the ways that Rae’s action unleashed a transition movement that is reshaping the face of New England.
The reader accompanies Rae as she drops out of college in 1972 to join peace and anti-nuclear power movements in Montague, Massachusetts. We experience her formative solidarity travels in Central America, her struggles against a gas pipeline in her Boston neighborhood, and her co-founding of a back-to-the-land community in Vermont. Along the way, we meet the elders, lovers, friends, poets, and writers that inspire and shape her understanding of the world, its brokenness, and the possibilities for regeneration. With each step, we experience what prepared Rae for her resolute final act.
Praise for the Writing of Chuck Collins
“Collins not only talks the talk but walks the walk . . . this is a worthwhile book to read, digest, and share.”
– Publishers Weekly
“Written in a well-crafted, conversational style, Collins’ latest is a gentle yet clear reminder to readers that real change starts by looking outside ourselves and making even the smallest connection with others.”
“A call to action for America’s wealthy and a warning shot across the bows of their yachts if they fail to act, Born on Third Base offers a clear and compelling case for why the privileged and powerful must act to reverse widening inequality of income, wealth, and political power in America.”
—Robert B. Reich, former US Secretary of Labor
About the Author
Chuck Collins is a campaigner and storyteller who has worked for decades on environmental and economic justice campaigns. He is the Director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org. He is co-founder of DivestInvest.org, a global movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions; and trustee of the Post-Carbon Institute and Resilience.org.
His 2021 book, The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions, is about the wealth-hiding industry (Polity). He is the author of the popular book, Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green) and, with Bill Gates Sr., Wealth and Our Commonwealth (Beacon Press), a case for taxing inherited fortunes.
He was featured in this interview in Sun Magazine and this interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Collins is an expert on U.S. inequality, community resilience, and the racial wealth divide and the author of numerous reports and several other books, including Is Inequality in America Irreversible?, with Mary Wright, of The Moral Measure of the Economy, a book about Christian ethics and economic life. He is a founding board member of the Patriotic Millionaires.
He lives with his family in Southern Vermont. Altar to an Erupting Sun is his debut novel.
330 pages; 6 x 9 / Trade Paperback
$19.95 print / $9.99 e-book
Publication Date: May 2023
Distributor: IPG / Chicago
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights contact: Dede Cummings
Distributor: IPG; also available through Ingram, Follett/Baker & Taylor, and other wholesalers.
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