The Nuclear Age

The Nuclear Age

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by Tim O'Brien
     
 

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The Nuclear Age is about one man's slightly insane attempt to come to terms with a dilemma that confronts us all—a little thing called The Bomb. The year is 1995, and William Cowling has finally found the courage to meet his fears head-on. Cowling's courage takes the form of a hole that he begins digging in his backyard in an effort to "bury" all

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Overview

The Nuclear Age is about one man's slightly insane attempt to come to terms with a dilemma that confronts us all—a little thing called The Bomb. The year is 1995, and William Cowling has finally found the courage to meet his fears head-on. Cowling's courage takes the form of a hole that he begins digging in his backyard in an effort to "bury" all thoughts of the apocalypse. Cowling's wife, however, is ready to leave him; his daughter has taken to calling him "nutto"; and Cowling's own checkered past seems to be rising out of the crater taking shape on his lawn, besieging him with flashbacks and memories of a life that's had more than its share of turmoil. Brilliantly interweaving his masterful storytelling powers with dark, surreal humor and empathy for characters caught in circumstances beyond their control, Tim O'Brien brings us his most entertaining novel to date. At once wildly comic and sneakily profound, The Nuclear Age is also utterly unforgettable.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Brilliant nuclear detonations and rising silver Titans have plagued William's dreams since his childhood during the Cuban missile crisis, when he fashioned a fallout shelter from the family ping-pong table. Thirty years later his fear has mushroomed into blinding paranoia, and when his wife announces she is leaving, he laces a hole in the backyard with dynamite, places her in it, and prepares to blow her up. Understand, however, that he is a good pacifist. The impending murder is really the Bomb's fault. ``If you're sane, you see the Bomb's madness. If you see madness, you freak.'' Such is O'Brien's ceaseless harangue in The Nuclear Age , an awkward polemic sure to disappoint readers of Going After Cacciato . Sadly, The Nuclear Age is not in that league, with orchestrated excitement here replaced by a didactic monotone. Paul E. Hutchison, English Dept., Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140259100
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/01/1996
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
991,809
Product dimensions:
5.05(w) x 7.73(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Minnesota native Tim O'Brien graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul in 1968. He served as a foot soldier in Vietnam from February 1969 to March 1970. Following his military service, he went to graduate school in Government at Harvard University, then later worked as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post. O'Brien is the author of the novel Going After Cacciato, winner of the 1979 National Book Award for fiction, and of The Things They Carried, winner of the 1990 Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction. Its title story, first published in Esquire, received the 1987 National Magazine Award in fiction.His other books are If I Die in a Combat Zone, Northern Lights, and The Nuclear Age.His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, McCall's, Granta, Harper's, Redbook, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Gentleman's Quarterly, and Saturday Review. His short stories have been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories (1976, 1978, 1982), Great Esquire Fiction, Best American Short Stories (1978, 1987), The Pushcart Prize (Vols. II and X), and in many textbooks and collections. He has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Foundation.In the Lake of the Woods was selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of 1994.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 1, 1946
Place of Birth:
Austin, Minnesota
Education:
B.A., Macalester College, 1968; Graduate study at Harvard University

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The Nuclear Age 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you need help trying to figure out what the novel makes reference to then you shouldn't be reading it, anyone who's taken a history course would have no difficulty with the matter... It does tend to get a bit repetitive but since it's told from a first person narrative it's obvious that it's done intentionally and overall the writing style is easy to adjust to. Reading this book is a lot more meaningful when you consider the world around you. It should definitely bring out the thinker in all those who read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was not very well done and it was extremely repetitive. One needs a large amount of background info to know what is going on in the novel.