By TaraShea Nesbit
Bloomsbury, $25.00, 240 pages
Nesbit’s novel chronicles the Los Alamos project from a unique perspective, that of the wives of nuclear scientists on the New Mexico military base in 1943. These women forged ahead with their family’s lives knowing that something important was happening, but that they were not privy to the secrets. The book reads like several small short stories and at times feels directionless, but so do the women forced to leave their careers, homes and families to blindly follow a secret mission.
“We were a group of people connecting both honestly and dishonestly, appearing composed at dusk and bedraggled at daybreak, committed, whether we wanted it or not, to shared conditions of need, agitation, and sometimes joy, which is to say: we were a community.”
The Wives of Los Alamos shares the intimate stories of these women who had no control over their lives from 1943-1945. They suffer rations just like the rest of the nation, with little support from their secretive husbands. Babies are born, injuries occur and the women grapple with the enormity of what is happening around them with realistic serenity and frustration. The Wives of Los Alamos is a spellbinding novel that gives insight into these women’s lives in a time of war, and their hope for a peaceful future.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff