Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

Arriving in New Mexico from places far and near, the group of women who form this books nucleus, arrive at their shared destination from backgrounds as diverse and as wide as imaginable. At an average age of twenty five, a dusty, remote military town was probably not their life choice but marriage ensured that willing or not, it happened and adaptable they became.
The women that populate Nesbits fascinating book are bound together by marriage, babies and homemaking and these commonalities allow friendships to grow and bloom in circumstances that most of us would find trying...Secrecy ensured that the details of their lives didn't creep out, freedom didn't exist for these ladies, you couldn't tell your own Mother what exactly it was your husband did, outsiders were exactly that and they were not welcome.
For all the diversity and inner workings of their lives, the only people they could rely on were those sharing the experience, Nesbit does a great job with these characters, you can feel the frustration, share the growing doubts, understanding the anxiety.
The narrative voice in this story, which is fact based, is engaging especially as we weave in and out of the past and present, to me it felt like the voice was just perfect for the telling of this story as were the somewhat harsh black chapter titles that fairly well jump out at you, it might not work with another book but with this one it all fits and the bringing alive of a remote, dusty military town could be an exercise in boredom but not in this book, you could see it, feel it, taste it and it wasn't altogether pleasant quite the reverse actually.
A story based on a group of women whose husbands built the Atomic Bomb had to have been a challenge to write but Nesbit jumps that hurdle and writes an engaging, engrossing book that takes you on a journey back in time, to a place where life was very different, where values were at great variance with our times but where none the less those ties that have always strongly bound women together, did exactly that and allowed another generation to bridge the gaps and go forth to wherever it was they journeyed too.

No comments: