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Taking in McCarthyism, personal and political distrust, constraints on women in mid-century America and fundamental moral questions around power and betrayal, this ambitious novel is as complex as its subject, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who co-created the atomic bomb.
Hailed a hero for his role in developing the bomb, then denounced for his Communist Party connections, this discloses Oppenheimer’s contradictions through the perspectives of seven varied and compelling characters at different points in time. The secret service agent who trails Oppenheimer remarks that “another person is a mystery”, and this novel certainly bears that out with its positing of a fundamental question - can we ever truly know another person? Illuminating and thought-provoking, this is a fine work of historical fiction with intellectual bite and emotional resonance.
From the acclaimed author of Speak comes a kaleidoscopic novel about Robert Oppenheimer - father of the atomic bomb - as told by seven fictional characters J. Robert Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist, a champion of liberal causes, and a complex and often contradictory character. He loyally protected his Communist friends, only to later betray them under questioning. He repeatedly lied about love affairs. And he defended the use of the atomic bomb he helped create, before ultimately lobbying against nuclear proliferation. Louisa Hall, the acclaimed author of Speak, has returned with a kaleidoscopic novel about the father of the atomic bomb. Through narratives that cross time and space, a set of seven fictional characters bears witness to the life of Oppenheimer, from a secret service agent who tailed him in San Francisco, to the young lover of a colleague in Los Alamos, to a woman fleeing McCarthyism who knew him on St. John. As these men and women fall into the orbit of a brilliant but mercurial mind at work, all consider his complicated legacy while also uncovering deep and often unsettling truths about their own lives. In this stunning, elliptical novel, Louisa Hall has crafted a breathtaking and explosive story about the ability of the human mind to believe what it wants, about public and private tragedy, and about power and guilt. Blending science with literature and fiction with biography, Trinity asks searing questions about what it means to truly know someone, and about the secrets we keep from the world and from ourselves.
Much has been written about [J. Robert Oppenheimer] . . . but in this boldly imagined, multilayered novel, author Hall takes a new approach. Through her invented narrators, she explores themes of guilt and betrayal as well as the fallout from lies and self-delusion - in the process bringing Oppenheimer, an often aloof, conflicted man, to vivid life . . . Lushly written, this is an ambitious, unsettling novel that takes on big issues in a passionate, personal way. - Kirkus
Trinity is a dizzying, kaleidoscopic marvel of a book, and a beautiful reflection on the impossibility of creating a truly accurate narrative of any person's life - Texas Observer
Lushly written, this is an ambitious, unsettling novel that takes on big issues in a passionate, personal way - Kirkus Reviews
Hall excels at creating distinct characters whose voices illuminate their own lives and challenges, as well as the historical period that saw Oppenheimer's fall from grace. Taken together, they only burnish the endlessly fascinating enigma of the flawed genius who became known as the father of the atomic bomb. - Publishers Weekly
Trinity is an intelligent and sweeping account of the characters - some real, some fictional - swirling around the testing of the first atomic bomb. It is also an affecting meditation on the ways in which we betray others and, in the process, ourselves. - Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs
Publication date: 01/11/2018
Publisher: Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
|Publication date:||1st November 2018|
|Publisher:||Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group|
|Genres:||Books of the Month, Historical Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Louisa Hall was born in Philadelphia in 1982 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Haverford. She graduated from Harvard in 2004 and went on to play squash professionally for three years. She is now completing her Ph.D. in literature at the University of Texas at Austin, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband. Her poems have been published in journals such as The New Republic, The Southwest Review, and Ellipsis. The Carriage House is her first novel. Author photo © Ben SteinbauerMore About Louisa Hall