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Evidence of Things Unseen

av Marianne Wiggins

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5361635,111 (4.14)34
"This novel describes America at the brink of the Atomic Age. In the years between the two world wars, the future held more promise than peril, but there was evidence of things unseen that would transfigure our unquestioned trust in a safe future." "Fos has returned to Tennessee from the trenches of France. Intrigued with electricity, bioluminescence, and especially x-rays, he believes in science and the future of technology. On a trip to the Outer Banks to study the Perseid meteor shower, he falls in love with Opal, whose father is a glassblower who can spin color out of light." "Fos brings his new wife back to Knoxville where he runs a photography studio with his former Army buddy Flash. A witty rogue and a staunch disbeliever in Prohibition, Flash brings tragedy to the couple when his appetite for pleasure runs up against both the law and the Ku Klux Klan. Fos and Opal are forced to move to Opal's mother's farm on the Clinch River, and soon they have a son, Lightfoot. But when the New Deal claims their farm for the TVA, Fos seeks work at the Oak Ridge Laboratory - Site X in the government's race to build the bomb." "And it is there, when Opal falls ill with radiation poisoning, that Fos's great faith in science deserts him. Their lives have traveled with touching inevitability from their innocence and fascination with "things that glow" to the new world of manmade suns."--BOOK JACKET.… (mer)
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Visa 1-5 av 16 (nästa | visa alla)
This nearly 400-page book mesmerized me from the breathtaking opening paragraph. The story of Fos and Opal grows from their innate curiosity in the world around them. Fos, an amateur scientist, thrives on luminescence in all its forms. Opal loves learning and longs to build a future with Fos. Their love intensifies through tragedy and hardship in the years between the first World War and the second as the world of science becomes weaponized.
The story feels leisurely at first, luring the reader deep inside with lyrical prose and depth of character, then it delivers a gut punch. Then another. And another.
Nevermind the punctuation-free dialogue that feels like the author or publisher is trying to look artsy, like an overpriced canvas with a single splotch of color on it. The worse distraction is the eyelash-thin footnote size font that strains the eye. The story was worth the extra effort it took to read it.
Note to self: Buy the next Wiggins book in ebook to increase the font size or as an audio book. It would sound like poetry. ( )
  JoniMFisher | Oct 5, 2021 |
A total masterpiece. You definitely have to give yourself over to Wiggins's style, which takes a bit of getting used to, but once you're in, you're in. Heartbreaking and brilliantly told. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
SET IN RURAL TENNESSEE, an American returns from WWII believing in science & technology. Everything he believes in--turns out to be killers. Are we making our future better with technology and how far should we go with it--x-rays, atom bombs, jWell written, poetic, sad ( )
  evatkaplan | Apr 26, 2020 |
Second reading, by way of my wife's nomination of it for our book group. An inspired, emotional work. I grew to care for these characters. Interwar to postwar period, from Outer Banks of Carolina to the Tennessee River region, ending out West. Sadness and tragedy inform much of the story, but it ends on a more hopeful note. (Earns an extra half star this time.)

Excerpts from my original GR review (Oct 2009):
- This is a story of love, dreams, fate, and other unseen wonders- some of them manmade. The writing is spare, at times poetic..
- Ray Foster (Fos), fresh from the trenches of the Great War, and on a pilgrimage to the Outer Banks for the Perseid meteors, meets and marries Opal, the fair-headed daughter of a widowed glassblower. He takes her home to Knoxville, where Fos works with his drunken-literate army buddy "Flash" in their photo studio. Fos, an illumination specialist while on the French battlefields, moonlights as a phenomenologist, traveling on weekends with Opal to county fairs with his amazing X-ray box. They fish the Tennessee River with Flash, and make their annual sojourns back to the sea to witness the star showers.
- Opal's family roots in eastern Tennessee are revealed in her unexpected inheritance of Clinch River bottom land, next to a tragedy-fated farming cousin and young wife. The rivers and their unmercifully flooding natures become a kind of character in the novel... The haunted, tragic aura of the novel begins to thicken, Flash's black sheep recklessness catches up to him in the form of a prison sentence, and Opal's unspoken dream of raising a family seems lost.
- The dawn of the atomic age and the ghostly secrets held at nearby Oak Ridge provide brightened opportunities for Fos and Opal. But Fos's lifelong fascination with mysterious forces sets the stage for the novel's most wrenching disaster. Without giving anything away, I'll say that the final fifty or so pages of the novel are its most powerful, as redemption and hope give things "unseen" a bit more radiance in the end. A very good and very American story. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Aug 8, 2016 |
This was really quite a different read for me. I found it an amazing book. The writing was sort of a beautiful flow of poetic writing.

I did find that at times I sort of struggled with reading it.

The book covered historical events which I love reading and the great wars. There was so much going on in the story.

Would say this book covers history death and love. I would say this would make a good discussion book. ( )
  georgiapeach47 | Oct 14, 2011 |
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Somewhere in the heart of North america there is a desert where the heat of several suns has fused the particles of sand into a single sheet of glass so dazzling that it sends a constant signal to the moon.
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"This novel describes America at the brink of the Atomic Age. In the years between the two world wars, the future held more promise than peril, but there was evidence of things unseen that would transfigure our unquestioned trust in a safe future." "Fos has returned to Tennessee from the trenches of France. Intrigued with electricity, bioluminescence, and especially x-rays, he believes in science and the future of technology. On a trip to the Outer Banks to study the Perseid meteor shower, he falls in love with Opal, whose father is a glassblower who can spin color out of light." "Fos brings his new wife back to Knoxville where he runs a photography studio with his former Army buddy Flash. A witty rogue and a staunch disbeliever in Prohibition, Flash brings tragedy to the couple when his appetite for pleasure runs up against both the law and the Ku Klux Klan. Fos and Opal are forced to move to Opal's mother's farm on the Clinch River, and soon they have a son, Lightfoot. But when the New Deal claims their farm for the TVA, Fos seeks work at the Oak Ridge Laboratory - Site X in the government's race to build the bomb." "And it is there, when Opal falls ill with radiation poisoning, that Fos's great faith in science deserts him. Their lives have traveled with touching inevitability from their innocence and fascination with "things that glow" to the new world of manmade suns."--BOOK JACKET.

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