The Atomic Weight of Love

The Atomic Weight of Love

3.9 (5,338 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In her sweeping debut novel, Elizabeth J. Church takes us from the World War II years in Chicago to the vast sun-parched canyons of New Mexico in the 1970s as we follow the journey of a driven, spirited young woman, Meridian Wallace, whose scientific ambitions are subverted by the expectations of her era.

In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly.

Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, years later at the dawn of the 1970s, with counterculture youth filling the streets and protests against the war rupturing college campuses across the country, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

Exquisitely capturing the claustrophobic eras of 1940s and 1950s America, The Atomic Weight of Love also examines the changing roles of women during the decades that followed. And in Meridian Wallace we find an unforgettable heroine whose metamorphosis shows how the women's movement opened up the world for a whole generation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 145 x 211 x 33mm | 454g
  • English
  • 1616204842
  • 9781616204846
  • 773,020

Back cover copy

Spanning the years from World War II through the Vietnam era and set in the breathtaking landscape of the American Southwest, this triumphant debut tells the story of indomitable, gifted Meridian Wallace--a late-blooming heroine awakened by the women's movement who discovers what she has to offer amid a world lain to waste by the ravages of men.

"Church's debut will likely strike a chord, especially with women who find that not much has changed in our patriarchal society since Meri's time, and that Meri's story might well be their own." --Booklist

"This exquisite debut is the story of a woman who must negotiate the tricky terrain of love, responsibility, ambition, and sacrifice. In her impeccable portrayal of a long marriage, Church weaves together the historical and the personal and shows the impossible choices women faced--and still face--between family and self." --Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl
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Review quote

Oh, what a incandescent debut! From the atomic bomb tests at Los Alamos to the Vietnam War protests to the fascinating lives of crows, Church follows one extraordinary woman, who is brave to enough to challenge the times, take defiant wing, and chart her own extraordinary flight path. So engrossing, I couldn t wait to read another page, and so alive, I never wanted the story to end. Caroline Leavitt, "New York Times "bestselling author of "Is This Tomorrow" and "Pictures of You" This exquisite debut is the beautifully written story of a woman who must negotiate the tricky terrain of love, responsibility, ambition and sacrifice. In her impeccable portrayal of a long marriage, Elizabeth Church weaves together the historical and the personal and shows the impossible choices women faced - and still face - between family and self. Tara Conklin, author of "The House Girl" "
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Rating details

5,338 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 28% (1,517)
4 42% (2,249)
3 22% (1,176)
2 6% (316)
1 1% (80)
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