Review: Friendly Fallout 1953, Ann Ronald


image_displayThirteen Ways of Looking at a Mushroom Cloud

Friendly Fallout 1953, Nevada writer Ann Ronald’s latest exploration of place, is itself an experiment in fission — the literary kind. Set at Nevada’s Proving Ground, the book splits the telling of history among 12 fictional characters — plus Ronald herself — who witness the detonations of 11 very real nuclear bombs. A hardboiled journalist takes in the first, highly publicized detonation (codenamed “Annie”): “an exquisite rage, a beast simultaneously beautiful and brutal”; a Vegas dancer, inflamed with patriotism, pirouettes before the rainbow glow of “Badger”; and an earnest soldier runs into the fallout of “Grable.”

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