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An Atomic Romance: A Novel Paperback – July 11, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (July 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812975200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812975208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her first novel in a decade, set against the backdrop of a Kentucky nuclear power plant, Mason (In Country; Shiloh and Other Stories) conjures utterly believable, ordinary characters in extraordinary circumstances to take a penetrating look at America's nuclear legacy. Reed Futrell is divorced with two grown kids and still in good shape in his 40s, after having worked for more than 20 years at the uranium enrichment plant—the town's economic backbone. Like his father, who died at the plant in a chemical accident when Reed was a boy, Reed handles dangerous repairs. When news breaks about plutonium leaks at the plant, Reed tries to downplay the risks of his job, and his co-workers fear layoffs. Meanwhile, he clashes with his girlfriend, Julia, a pathologist whose level of outrage about the plant Reed doesn't share. As he and Julia slowly come together despite their disagreements, Reed investigates further and realizes that the company he thinks is taking care of him might not be telling its workers the truth. When both the plant's crisis and the romance come to a head, Mason packs a punch with a light touch, commenting on the missteps of the past and how we have to live with them.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

In her first novel in a decade, Mason examines the joys and sorrows of life in an atomic Heartland town. It seems, however, that a decade-long break hasn’t done Mason any favors. While a few critics called the novel wholly original, many felt it courted every cliché in the book—hackneyed romance, science versus ethics, corporate greed, etc. These themes would resound on deeper emotional and political levels if the characters or story was uniformly convincing. But Reed and Julia often come off as caricatures (though critics consistently praised Burl, Reed’s drunk "prayer warrior"), and the novel’s tone seesaws between playful and overly serious (though Mason does get the science right).

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bobbie Ann Mason in her first novel in many moons has created a very likeable and most ordinary of heroes, one Reed Futrell who we learn in the first sentence "still went camping in the Fort Wolf Wildlife Refuge, but he no longer brought along his dog." We soon find out why this once favorite place of Reed's is now off limits to his beloved Clarence, described as a collie-shepherd combo.

Reed is in his forties and the divorced father of two "normal" adult children who have moved away from the never-named town where most of this story unfolds although it apparently is somewhere in Kentucky. He exercises daily, rides a motorcycle for pleasure, and is much attracted to a lot of women who also find him desirable, although he has recently met and fallen for an unusual woman named Julia who works at a cytopathology lab and wants to "save the world from sinister diseases like Ebola and anthrax." Reed is a second generation employee of a nuclear plant where his father died in a chemical accident when his son was only six. Reed's employment-- he was exposed to dangerous chemicals in 1986 although he has never told Julia and has not had a physical in five years-- and Julia's fear of what is actually going on at the plant and her distrust of both corporate America and the U. S. Government provide the major conflict for this beautifully crafted novel.

Ms. Mason has a great ear for the dialogue of people and customs from "around here" and gets it all down on paper with flair. One of Reed's fellow workers has a wife who says that going to a mall on weekends is spending "quality time" together. At the lounge in the hospital where his mother is recovering from a stroke, Reed meets a "wide-bodied family.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Dravis VINE VOICE on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book for two reasons: I liked the author's name. It took me back to my childhood with my sisters in Ohio: Dottie Sue, Billie Mae, and Gladdie Jo. Of course, I was Betty Lou in those days. The second reason is because the book is set in my parents' birthplace, Kentucky.

Silly reasons to buy a book, but am I ever glad I did!

This was my first introduction to this well-known author and I find her style to be endearing in every aspect. Her characters are well-drawn, sympathetic and real.

The plot is an old one: company man on the lower echelon of the pecking order, goes up against his BIG BAD company to protect the workers, and to add to the enjoyment, he finds true love along the way. What makes this book so unique is this talented author's masterful writing. I couldn't put it down.

Thanks, Ms. Mason for an enjoyable few hours.

P.S. I am a proud member of the great charitable organization, THE KENTUCKY COLONELS, an honorary order of the Governor's office.
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By Robin Schmidt on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I wish I could say I liked this. I've loved everything else I've read by Bobbie Ann Mason but this one just left me feeling... meh. All the cute, clever comments about string theory, Schrödinger's cat and quarks seemed tangential and out of context. I had a hard time believing that a college graduate working at a uranium enrichment plant could be so uninformed and blase about exposure. It just seemed like a bunch of smart assed comments strung together into a book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JSM on March 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book came recommended from a friend who had read it and a number of other books from Bobbie Ann Mason. I found the book pretty average. I didn't connect with the characters, and a lot of the talk about radiation poisoning or nuclear illness just sort of passed me by without much care. It was a quick and easy read, but I don't expect to revisit it any time soon.
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