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Amid all the noise and static of the late twentieth century made manifest in weapons and anti-weapons, human beings have set in motion a malign and inhuman reality, which now is beyond their control.
More than a critique of corrupt science and a permanent wartime economy, Radiance is a novel of lost ideals, broken aspirations, and human costs. Failure is just another word for opportunity. Spin is a property not of atomic particles but of the news cycle. Nature is a blur beyond the windshield, where lives are spent on the road, on the phone, on the make, in fierce competition for financial, political, and intellectual resources.
It is a world which language is used to evade, manipulate, and expedite.
If You Leave Me: A Novel | Washington Independent Review of Books
Years ago, I ran into a book review titled: Timmel Duchamp; about a novel I had never heard of by an author I had never heard of, but it sounded interesting and I read the review until towards the end, it quote a key passage in Radiance: A murmur of rain had started again.
He lay there in the abyss of his thoughts as her breathing beside him steadied and deepened. Almost a voice stirred in him.
It starts before Hanford, it almost said. Who could imagine that this radiance at the heart of matter could be malign? That with its light came fire? Yet from the first the ashen bones were there to see within the flesh.
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It starts with Becquerel carrying the radium in his pocket that burned his skin, and darkened the unexposed film. It starts with Marie Curie poisoning herself in that pale uncanny glow.
With Rutherford guessing at this new alchemy, guessing that matter, giving up its glow, transformed itself one element into another. With the miners at Joachimsthal, deep under the Erzgebirge, inhaling the dust of uranium and dying of mountain sickness.
With Oppenheimer at Jornada del Muerte that morning of Trinity. With the scientists who had prised open the gates to that blazing realm past heaven or hell. What were they now at the Lab in all their thousands, but the colonial bureaucrats of that realm, the followers and functionaries, the clerks and commissars?
Mere gatekeepers of that power. Or in its keeping. It goes of its own momentum beyond Hanford, to Trinity, to Hiroshima, to the prisoners, the cancer patients, the retarded children, the pregnant women injected or fed this goblin matter to see would it bring health or sickness, the soldiers huddled in trenches against the flash, bones visible in their arms through closed eyes, staring up at the roiling cloudrise, the sheepherders, the farms, the homes, the gardens downwind. And in his sleep the voice long stilled spoke once more.
Ratings and reviews
It starts with Sforza; in case of need I will make bombards, mortars, and firethrowing engines of beautiful and practical design. It starts where we start.
It is mind, it is hunger, it is greed, it is defense, it is mischief, it is the devil, it is the god; it is life. The force of the incantation struck me and a few years later, a copy finally appeared in my local library system. A hallmark of Radiance is the Gibsonian sense of alien entities and organisms clashing for life, at a level above individuals: Here I borrow a term from Kevin Kelly and refer to the Technium: Section two turns to the unseated Highet: But humor, kindness, and acts of generosity also bubble up amid the daily grind as the war looms closer and the friends struggle to make decisions whose repercussions they are too young to foresee.
Should they stay or should they go? Should they fight or should they keep their heads down and wait for peace? Most notably, should Haemi, who must choose a husband, accept Kyunghwan as her fate, or should she say yes to her other suitor, Jisoo, who offers a life of security and comfort?
These are weighty decisions in any time of conflict, but they are especially tricky with only gossip as a source of information about the war, as Haemi recalls: I remembered it too clearly. Mother ran to us with her hanbok skirt clutched in one hand…The Northerners had crossed the thirty-eighth parallel two days before.Crushed Velvet skirts and crochet books reviews
The Chinese were with them. Whoever they were, they were Reds.
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- If You Leave Me: A Novel
Seoul had fallen in less than an hour. Our country would be reunited. We would be killed. The hysteria was contagious, congested with too many emotions. Haemi struggles to be satisfied with the life she has chosen. She is spiteful to passersby.