Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

Novelist to share stories of atomic bomb

With the implementation of the atomic bomb in the 1940s, life was changing drastically for everyone. Historical novelist TaraShea Nesbit recounts this time through a group of women who were impacted by the changes every day.
Nesbit will share the stories from her novel, “Wives of Los Alamos,” to Augustana students on April 27.
River Readings will be hosting award winning author TaraShea Nesbit as she reads from her first novel. Nesbit has her doctorate in creative writing, and has had a passion for her work that has pushed her to where she is today.
“I pursued writing for this really simple reason: I love it. I love reading and thinking about how words make stories and I was willing to carry risk to cultivate that love,” Nesbit said.
Nesbit’s inspiration behind “Wives of Los Alamos” was people who are uninformed, and unaware that they are.
“The Wives of Los Alamos tells the story of the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb creation from the perspective of the scientists’ wives, who did not know what their husbands were building,” she said.
Her novel discovers the historical context between the lines, focusing on who and what was impacted by the atomic bomb.
“While the bomb was being developed, babies were born, friendships were forged, children grew up and Los Alamos transformed from a boys school on a hill into a community: one that was strained by the words they couldn’t say out loud, the letters they couldn’t send home and the freedom they didn’t have,” Nesbit explained. “The end of the war brought 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.”
Amanda Makula, host of River Readings, shares her fondness for Nesbit’s work, and believes Augustana students will too.
“I think anyone who is interested in history, in what happened leading up to the creation of the atomic bomb or how the world changed as a result, could glean something from this book,” Makula said. “It tells an often-overlooked part of the story: the domestic details of what it meant to live in a military town where this huge part of history was unfolding.”
Makula said Nesbit’s attention to the supporting characters in each scientist’s life tells an important story.
“It gives the women a voice and helps us understand what they actually lived through: the terrible moments, as well as the happier ones,” she said.  “I also think creative writing students will be interested because the story is told from a unique perspective.”
She also said Nesbit’s structure in the novel contributes to its cultural relevance.
“The wives speak as a group (we), so their common experiences are the focus of the book, but at the same time, individual characters, stories and voices emerge,” Makula said. “It’s an interesting, intentional choice on the part of the author. She’s doing something unique with the characters and the book’s structure.”
Nesbit’s novel, “The Wives of Los Alamos,” was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, a winner of two New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and an Indies Choice Spring 2014 Debut Pick.
Nesbit will share her story at River Readings in the Gävle Room at the Center for Student Life, at 7 p.m.

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Novelist to share stories of atomic bomb