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Evidence of Things Unseen

A Novel

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Paperback published by Simon & Schuster (Simon & Schuster)

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About This Book
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.
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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.
Product Details
Paperback (400 pages)
Published: June 2, 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9780743258098
Other books byMarianne Wiggins
  • The Shadow Catcher

    The Shadow Catcher
    A Novel
    Following her National Book Award finalist, Evidence of Things Unseen, Marianne Wiggins turns her extraordinary literary imagination to the American West, where the life of legendary photographer Edward S. Curtis is the basis for a resonant exploration of history and family, landscape and legacy. The Shadow Catcher dramatically inhabits the space where past and present intersect, seamlessly interweaving narratives from two different eras: the first fraught passion between turn-of-the-twentieth-century icon Edward Curtis (1868-1952) and his muse-wife, Clara; and a twenty-first-century journey of redemption. Narrated in the first person by a reimagined writer named Marianne Wiggins, the novel begins in Hollywood, where top producers are eager to sentimentalize the complicated life of Edward Curtis as a sunny biopic: "It's got the outdoors. It's got adventure. It's got the do-good element." Yet, contrary to Curtis's esteemed public reputation as servant to his nation, the artist was an absent husband and disappearing father. Jump to the next generation, when Marianne's own father, John Wiggins (1920-1970), would live and die in equal thrall to the impulse of wanderlust. Were the two men running from or running to? Dodging the false beacons of memory and legend, Marianne amasses disparate clues -- photographs and hospital records, newspaper clippings and a rare white turquoise bracelet -- to recover those moments that went unrecorded, "to hear the words only the silent ones can speak." The Shadow Catcher, fueled by the great American passions for love and land and family, chases the silhouettes of our collective history into the bright light of the present.

    Almost Heaven

    Almost Heaven
    Before his thirtieth birthday Holden Garfield has already burned out as a journalist in war-torn Bosnia. Returning to the United States, he hopes the familiar sunshine and rolling hills of Virginia will help him put aside the horrors he reported. Instead he finds Melanie, his mentor's sister, who is institutionalized with a mysterious amnesia after her husband and son were killed five weeks earlier by a freak force of nature. Struck as if by lightning by her beauty, Holden sets out to help her reconstruct her past, and the pair is swept up in a passionate love affair -- one fighting to remember, the other struggling to forget. With this breakneck story of love and loss, Marianne Wiggins delivers a compelling novel that is a series of powerful metaphors for the curative forces of love as well as her own personal love letter to the American South.

    John Dollar

    John Dollar
    Charlotte Lewes, a young Briton newly widowed by the Great War, departs for colonial Burma in 1917 to escape the ruins of her life. As a schoolteacher in Rangoon she is rejuvenated by the sensuous Oriental climate, and she meets John Dollar, a sailor who becomes her passionate love and whose ill-fated destiny inextricably binds her to him. On a festive seafaring expedition, the tightly knit British community confronts disaster in the shape of an earthquake and ensuing tidal wave. Swept overboard, Charlotte, John Dollar, and eight young girls who are Charlotte's pupils awake on a remote island beach. As they struggle to stay alive, their dependence on John overwhelms him, and an atmosphere of menace and doom builds, culminating in shocking and riveting scenes of both death and survival.

    Still

    Still
    Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century
    "Stillwas Robb Kendrick's first choice for the title of this book—not only because of the dictates of the large-format lens and its long exposures (the subjects had to stand realstill), but because he believes in the historical stamina of American cowboys, in their enduring place in the national image and in the fact that a century from now these people will be part of our energetic, vital, independent spirit,still." —Marianne Wiggins "The outside circle is the longest, widest-ranging path that a cowboy travels in rounding up cattle. Here one usually goes for the longest periods of time without seeing one's comrades. The cowboy assigned to ride the outside circle is invariably the most competent and experienced member of the crew. . . . Robb Kendrick rode the outside circle and returned with immense revelations." —Jay Dusard The cowboy may well be the quintessential American icon. Robb Kendrick has been photographing cowboys for twenty-five years, creating a magnificent artistic record that recalls the work of earlier photographers such as Edward S. Curtis, whose portraits of Native Americans have become classics. Kendrick even uses an early photographic process—tintype—to create one-of-a-kind photographs whose nineteenth-century appearance underscores how little twenty-first-century cowboys' ways of working and types of gear and dress have changed since the first cowboy photographs were made more than a century ago. InStill, Robb Kendrick presents an eloquent collection of tintype cowboy photographs taken on ranches across fourteen states of the American West, as well as in British Columbia, Canada, and Coahuila, Mexico. The photographs reveal the rich variety of people who are drawn to the cowboying life—women as well as men; Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans as well as Anglos. The images also show regional variations in dress and gear, from the "taco" rolled-brim hats of Texas cowpunchers to the braided rawhide reatas of Oregon buckaroos. Marianne Wiggins, author of a recent novel about Edward S. Curtis, introduces the volume, and Jay Dusard, a photographer renowned for his cowboy images, provides the afterword. Robb Kendrick tells the backstory of the project in his photographer's notes, while also interweaving stories from the cowboys themselves among the images. Both an evocative work of art and a masterful documentary record,Stillhonors the resilience of modern cowboys as they bring traditional ways of living on the land into the twenty-first century.

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  • Somewhere in the heart of North america there is a desert where the heat of several suns has fused the particles of sand into a single sheet of glass so dazzling that it sends a constant...

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