Day 644: The Wives of Los Alamos

Cover for The Wives of Los AlamosA little note from me: I noticed that for awhile WordPress applied a feature to my blog that showed related posts at the bottom of the page. Then yesterday I noticed that the feature disappeared at some time. I couldn’t figure out a way to implement it on my blog automatically, but I was amused at its choices sometimes. So, a new feature of my blog is that every time I review a book, I’ll try to find three other reviews that share something in common with it, whether it’s the subject matter, the setting, the author. The reviews are links at the bottom of the page. Let me know how you like it!

* * *

The Wives of Los Alamos takes an unusual approach to historical fiction. It is narrated collectively, in first person plural, by all the wives of the scientists at Los Alamos during World War II. Of course, this approach has its disadvantages, as there are no characters who stand out from one another. Still, it is a fascinating way to point out what these people shared—and did not share.

The novel begins as the wives depart their former lives. They know nothing about where they are going or what their husbands are going to do when they get there. What little they know, they are not allowed to say. The novel tells their story throughout the war and their reactions when they finally learn what their husbands have created.

At times we see these women as selfish and privileged, especially when they become bored with the restrictions and begin gossiping and complaining about the “help.” But other times we realize how difficult their situation is, shipped off to a primitive environment where their housing is not even ready when they arrive, unable to learn what is going on, subject to restricted movements and stringent security even though they know very little.

http://www.netgalley.comThis is an interesting book that touches on topics that emerged during the war and after—like equal pay for equal work, the ethics of creating this powerful weapon, and family relationships and roles.

Related Posts

Lucky Us

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Shanghai Girls