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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

3.5 (127 )
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3.8 (106 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ann 07-14-15
    Ann 07-14-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating."

    At first the plural voice "We" seemed odd, but as I listened it became more like the voice of a greek chorus. Imagining these women brought along, having to move blindly without knowing the details or where they were going, and the lives they lived while their husbands built something that still threatens life on this planet to this day, is amazing because it sounds so normal, the wives created a community, while their husbands worked on something which had the power to end a war and the world.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vince Tulsa, OK USA 05-29-15
    Vince Tulsa, OK USA 05-29-15

    vinceplato

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Unique POV Perfect For Telling This Story!"
    Where does The Wives of Los Alamos rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to over 1,500 audio books and this is one of the best books that I've heard that were written to be ideally presented as audio books. The unique format is perfect for the way this story is told.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The wives of the men creating the atom bomb. They each are part of the group-POV. With this story you get to feel what it was like to be a wife in that place in that time. You get to experience what it was like thru the eyes and ears of all the first wives who first came. This story has the best use of a Group-POV that I've ever experienced. I loved it.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The best scene is when the wives first find out what their husbands were doing all those years and how they were always trying to find out what was going on. These wives were truly an important part of the Greatest Generation.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Wives of Los Alamos and why?

    There was no one character. There were the first group of wives taken as a whole. It is an amazing book to listen to. I think it will always be the most memorable audio book I'll ever hear.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, by all means, listen to this book. I've read reviews of the written book where some readers found it hard to figure out the Group POV format. I can tell you with the great reader used to present this book, I knew for the first words what was going on with the Group POV and I was delighted. The author made this POV work and work as well as I think it can be done. This is a book best heard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ebeth Ohio 05-24-15
    Ebeth Ohio 05-24-15 Member Since 2015
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    "An End and A Beginning"

    Except for accounts of slavery or the holocaust, the majority of historical recounts of world events come from the male viewpoint. What I liked about this revelation of events was the absence of that voice. I appreciated that everything I already knew historically was somewhere in the background paint while this extraordinary Author told the realistic first-person, daily life story of so many women and their families regarding pivotal times in our nation.

    In found so, the author captured snapshots of a nation that are highly relevant, at least to me, today. America is her own entity and in that her Government calculates losses necessary to protect her great and terrible Queendom. No citizen lives within her borders without a cost.

    This book is incredible. It should find a place in classroom curriculum across American high schools immediately.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan 05-05-15
    Joan 05-05-15 Member Since 2014

    I love a good story. Audible allows me to be outside, hiking and walking and keeping up on great literature.

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    "Intriguing"

    The style was not what I expected; it was much more poetic. Ultimately, a look into a unique life experience from the women who lived it, but who's perspective was left out of the history books. Lyrical.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Hayward, CA USA 03-19-14
    Amazon Customer Hayward, CA USA 03-19-14 Member Since 2014

    -kls

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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
  •  
    ashley d kasper 03-22-15 Member Since 2012
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    "So close but so far"

    This was a very hard book to listen to. It's a shame because it had an interesting basis, and had the potential to be very informative, but narrating from a communal perspective left the reader with no connection to the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avalon California USA 02-21-15
    Avalon California USA 02-21-15 Member Since 2015

    Bibliophile, English Teacher, Wordsmith

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So close"

    The historical facts could have been fascinating, but the point of view was too distracting.

    We were pregnant, we shopped at the commissary, we wore overalls, we loved our husbands. Our husbands couldn't tell us about their work. We hoped they weren't making weapons. We called it the gadget. We weren't allowed to talk about it. Some of us were angry.

    What? No story, just bits strung together, told by nobody, or everybody. I came for the history. It was there, but too hard to disentangle from the tortuous point of view.

    I'm still looking for a great book about Los Alamos. If you're interested in women, WWII or the Manhattan project, try The Girls of Atomic City, a book as good as I wish this one was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Obanion 02-14-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Worst book I've ever listened too"

    Horrible book. The lack of POV is very annoying. Would not recommend to anyone. The premise was a good idea just badly executed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billy B. Dallas, TX USA 10-22-14
    Billy B. Dallas, TX USA 10-22-14 Member Since 2015
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    "The style takes some getting used to. But you can!"
    Where does The Wives of Los Alamos rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Its a very different style, and took some getting used to, but once you did it was very enjoyable.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Hearing multiple perspectives simultaneously really gave you a broad view of their struggles and triumphs.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't give up quickly, let the style sort of sink in and within the first hour you'll start to really appreciate being able to experience the uniqueness of multiple people and of the life they lived. Since the story does not really focus on a single character, but rather more of a collective mind of all characters, it can be a bit difficult to follow. However if you can take all the perspectives together you can really get a much more broad view which I found to be an interesting diversion from the normal single minded charge.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SWB Albuquerque NM 09-07-14
    SWB Albuquerque NM 09-07-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Terribly Boring"
    What disappointed you about The Wives of Los Alamos?

    It was repetitive and sounded wishy washy through out the book.


    What could TaraShea Nesbit have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    It never followed a specific character and basically described nothing.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Tavia Gilbert?

    I enjoyed the narrator, she made it as interesting as possible.


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

    You never know anyones names or character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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