TaraShea Nesbit’s The Wives of Los Alamos

sigh-uncover-ostomy1Good morning, readers! Today is a fine day here in the Caribbean. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, someone is being a dick and mowing their lawn at an indecent hour. Ah, the pleasures of society!

It took me a while to settle on a book for New Mexico, but once I came across this one I knew that was it. The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit tells of the community within Los Alamos. Told from the wives’ perspective, as the title implies, it focuses on people and their day to day, rather than the history of the place. 17978193It’s a really particular book in that it’s narrated in the first person plural. Reading it gives one the impression of listening to multiple voices that sound like one through sheer synchronicity. It manages to draw you in and make you feel like a trusted friend, while creating a clear separation between the reader and the characters. The fact that the speaker is a collective, gives one the sense of an entire community banding to tell a story. Which, I suppose, is what you want when creating a book about a lot of people.

It’s surprising in that I never expected it to be quite so domestic. I didn’t expect it to talk about chores, children, husbands, marriage. To be honest, I don’t know what I expected to find when I started reading it. Most surprising of all though, is the fact that it makes this domesticity compelling, it breathes life into so many mundane things. And within that life flourish the inner turmoils – the fears, longings, anger, worries, frustrations – of these women who took it upon themselves to make this unfriendly place their own. While being completely unassuming, the book manages to paint a broad, yet delightfully detailed picture of what these women went through while their husbands worked away in the labs.

She does a good job of portraying these women. A fair but honest depiction that showcased their strength and resilience, but also their pettiness and racism. Which is not to say it describes every woman as being like that. It describes different types of women, with different points of view, who came from different places, and had different beliefs. And maybe that’s the beauty of this book, seeing how this community grew and bonded in spite of the differences between them. How these women persevered and adapted to this sudden change in their lives, this exile from everything they’d previously known.

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We should all take a page from their book and meet the changes in our life head on. Adapting and persevering, until we’ve mastered whatever it is we’re grappling with. Perhaps something to consider with the coming New Year.

This is it for New Mexico, folks. Short and sweet, like your unmentionables. I have no idea what that means. Next up is Texas! Anyway, don’t go far because sometime between today and tomorrow I’ll be posting the Alphabet Soup I missed last week.

Have a good one readers!

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