PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Michelle Holmes on ‘Whitman, Alabama’ Les Murray Eight Poems Gabriel Josipovici Who Dares Wins: Reflections on Translation Maureen N. McLane Four Poems James Womack Europe (after the German of Marie Luise Kaschnitz)

This review is taken from PN Review 59, Volume 14 Number 3, January - February 1988.

TRAVELS IN NUCLEAR REALITY Martin Amis, Einstein's Monsters (Cape) £5.95
Gina Berriault, The Descent (North Point, San Francisco) $7.95
Dexter Masters, The Accident (Faber) £4.95
A.G. Mojtabai, Blessèd Assurance: At Home with the Bomb in Amarillo, Texas (Secker & Warburg) £10.95
Tim O'Brien, The Nuclear Age (Collins) £10.95, (Flamingo) £3.95

Faber have reissued The Accident, about a radiation accident which killed a young scientist at Los Alamos in 1946. It is very good reportage-fiction, liberal, knowledgeable, crafting every scene and character with documentary precision; it wears its thirty-two years well. You can take it as a sort of companion to Robert Jungk's famous account of the Manhattan Project, Brighter than a Thousand Suns. Nazism is smashed, the war is over, the community of atomic scientists has dispersed. Yet military research and secrecy continue at Los Alamos, although the researchers no longer know what their efforts are for. 'Who are we arming?' asks one of the most clear-sighted; 'Ourselves of course - but equally of course all possible enemies.' Masters' book constructs an historical moment absolutely, with all its glimmering hope, foreboding, and disastrous innocence. In The Mystery of Majorana, Leonardo Sciascia has a long, provocative footnote about the A-bomb enterprise:


The Manhattan Project's organisational structure and the site on which it was actualized are outlined for us invisions of segregation and slavery, in an equivalent to Hitler's death-camps. Those who manipulate death - even the death of others - as it was manipulated at Los Alamos, are on death's side and belong to death.


Masters refuses the judgements of hindsight, but some such epitaph looms over his New Mexican scene.

The other reprint in this batch is Gina Berriault's The Descent (1960), which tells of a modest academic who ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image