Evidence of Things Unseen

Evidence of Things Unseen

A Novel

Book - 2004
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This poetic novel, by the acclaimed author of John Dollar, describes America at the brink of the Atomic Age. In the years between the two world wars, the future held more promise than peril, but there was evidence of things unseen that would transfigure our unquestioned trust in a safe future.

Fos has returned to Tennessee from the trenches of France. Intrigued with electricity, bioluminescence, and especially x-rays, he believes in science and the future of technology. On a trip to the Outer Banks to study the Perseid meteor shower, he falls in love with Opal, whose father is a glassblower who can spin color out of light.

Fos brings his new wife back to Knoxville where he runs a photography studio with his former Army buddy Flash. A witty rogue and a staunch disbeliever in Prohibition, Flash brings tragedy to the couple when his appetite for pleasure runs up against both the law and the Ku Klux Klan. Fos and Opal are forced to move to Opal's mother's farm on the Clinch River, and soon they have a son, Lightfoot. But when the New Deal claims their farm for the TVA, Fos seeks work at the Oak Ridge Laboratory--Site X in the government's race to build the bomb.

And it is there, when Opal falls ill with radiation poisoning, that Fos's great faith in science deserts him. Their lives have traveled with touching inevitability from their innocence and fascination with "things that glow" to the new world of manmade suns.

Hypnotic and powerful, Evidence of Things Unseen constructs a heartbreaking arc through twentieth-century American life and belief.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2004
ISBN: 9780743258098
Branch Call Number: WIG
Characteristics: 383 p


From Library Staff

Extraordinary story superbly written - characters, place and plot. Great depth of writing. Recommended by Marilyn.

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Dec 28, 2015

I enjoyed the quirkiness of these unique characters and the way the author let us get to know them gradually yet fully . Not very satisfied with the ending, though -can't really say why, just felt incomplete somehow.

Mar 21, 2012

Pulitzer Nominee

Oct 31, 2011

I loved this book! Very well written. One of those stories you just curl up and get into. I highly recommend it.

Dec 06, 2007

Finalist of the 2004 Pulitzer prize for drama.

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