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The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel | [TaraShea Nesbit]

The Wives of Los Alamos: A Novel

Their average age was 25. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago - and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses with P.O. box addresses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn’t exist as far as the public knew.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, February 2014 - There’s no doubt about it, TaraShea Nesbit’s debut is a strange one. But it’s also lyrical and lovely and appeals to my inner English major who gets giddy when a novel’s form matches its meaning so perfectly. Being so acclimated to books that delve into the minutiae of individual experience, the use of the first person plural narrative voice was a shock to my ear, though it wasn’t long before I realized what Nesbit was getting at here. Historical women make great fictional fodder (think The Paris Wife, The Women, The Chaperone, just to name a few) because often so little is known about them. But Nesbit take a different tactic. Instead of fleshing out one person from the mass of history she makes this about the common experience of the families who were present during the development of the atom bomb. Her approach allows for a series of vignettes that together encompass a sweeping sense of time and place, and sheds new light on one of the most defining collective experiences in human history. —Emily, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Their average age was 25. They came from Berkeley, Cambridge, Paris, London, Chicago - and arrived in New Mexico ready for adventure, or at least resigned to it. But hope quickly turned to hardship as they were forced to adapt to a rugged military town where everything was a secret, including what their husbands were doing at the lab. They lived in barely finished houses with P. O. box addresses in a town wreathed with barbed wire, all for the benefit of a project that didn’t exist as far as the public knew. Though they were strangers, they joined together - adapting to a landscape as fierce as it was absorbing, full of the banalities of everyday life and the drama of scientific discovery. And while the bomb was being invented, babies were born, friendships were forged, children grew up, and Los Alamos gradually transformed from an abandoned school on a hill into a real community: one that was strained by the words they couldn’t say out loud, the letters they couldn’t send home, the freedom they didn’t have. But the end of the war would bring even bigger challenges to the people of Los Alamos, as the scientists and their families struggled with the burden of their contribution to the most destructive force in the history of mankind.

The Wives of Los Alamos is a novel that sheds light onto one of the strangest and most monumental research projects in modern history. It's a testament to a remarkable group of women who carved out a life for themselves, in spite of the chaos of the war and the shroud of intense secrecy.

©2014 TaraShea Nesbit (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (60 )
5 star
 (12)
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Overall
3.2 (47 )
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 (9)
Story
3.6 (46 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Hayward, CA USA 03-19-14
    Amazon Customer Hayward, CA USA 03-19-14 Member Since 2007

    -kls

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Tedious"

    Writing a novel from the perspective of a Community is an incredibly difficult undertaking. The result makes me feel schizophrenic. Or maybe it is just that there is no story here. A group of young women were thrown into close proximity with one another under trying circumstances at the insistence of husbands and government, and lived for a couple of years before departing. Along the way they may have given birth to a community. Or maybe not. Either way they had to come away from the experience with the sudden realization that their husbands had invented the most destructive weapon known to man.

    One gets occasional insights of the time and the place, the limits they were willing to accept in the name of a nation at war, the sexual tension that underlies all human communities. The need to connect with one another. But because the story doesn't follow any of the community members closely enough to make them into people, it is very difficult to feel what they felt.

    2 stars for the history lesson. 1 (or zero) for the story which is AWOL. The performance is ok if a bit sing-song given the lack of a narrative that binds the reader to what she is reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Shubrook 06-25-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not worth the time."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Being told from one or two points of view. NOT from the entire group as a whole.


    Would you ever listen to anything by TaraShea Nesbit again?

    Not sure yet.


    How could the performance have been better?

    It was the book itself that held the performance back.


    Any additional comments?

    Did not enjoy this book at all. Will not even finish listening to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 05-20-14
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 05-20-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "We came, We saw, We sighed"

    Very interesting book. I used to go to Church Camp in the New Mexico mountains, from which I garnered a pen pal from Los Alamos. I had NO idea about this place. I loved the literary style of this book -- in the collective We, which managed to show the many many experiences of the wives, the families, and even the views of the scientists -- the lives of the creators of the atomic bomb during those years. Important read, well narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Clarks Summit, PA, United States 03-04-14
    Robin Clarks Summit, PA, United States 03-04-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    7
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    "Disappointing and not at all enjoyable"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one. If I could review it with no stars, I would.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I have no idea. For every book I choose that I enjoy there are two or more that I do not.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I have learned to read about the narrator before purchasing an audiobook and was impressed with Tavia Gilbert from her website. Unfortunately I found her narration too theatrical somehow as if she were trying to make the story more interesting that it actually was. If the narration is off, even a good story is hard to endure. And this was not a good story.


    What character would you cut from The Wives of Los Alamos?

    There are no individual characters in this book. That is the problem.


    Any additional comments?

    The genre is not the problem with this book; it is the way it is written. I have listened to the first two chapters and will not be finishing this book. I was disappointed that the story was told from the first person plural. I was bored and found no way to become attached to the story or this group of women. Too much of "their husbands", "their children", "their mothers", "their fathers". I am sure these individual women had very interesting stories to tell, but it was like they were strangers to the reader and would remain that way. I have no interest in continuing to find out.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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