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In a world afflicted with war, toxicity, and hunger, does what we do in our private lives really matter? Fifty years after the creation of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, newlyweds Pauline and Clifford visit that once-secret city on their honeymoon, compelled by Pauline’s fascination with Oppenheimer, the soulful scientist. The two stories emerging from this visit reverberate back and forth between the loneliness of a new mother at home in Boston and the isolation of an entire community dedicated to the development of the bomb. While Pauline struggles with unforeseen challenges of family life, Oppenheimer and his crew reckon with forces beyond all imagining.
Finally the years of frantic research on the bomb culminate in a stunning test explosion that echoes a rupture in the couple’s marriage. Against the backdrop of a civilization that’s out of control, Pauline begins to understand the complex, potentially explosive physics of personal relationships.
At once funny and dead serious, My God, What Have We Done? sifts through the ruins left by the bomb in search of a more worthy human achievement.
Susan Weiss’s novel won me over on the first page. The narrator is a funny, touching, and infuriating young woman with a voice that’s approachable, engaging, and satisfyingly quirky.This is one of the rarest breed of novels—edgy, artful, and genuinely original.
—Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection and Insignificant Others
In this breakout novel, the political and the personal are mirrored metaphors for one another. With poetic, incisive, and sometimes incandescent prose, Weiss explores the tensions, fears, and hopes of our world.
—Mark Pendergrast, author of Inside the Outbreaks and Mirror Mirror
Susan's novel is one of the best things I have ever read.It's so good and original it's hard to describe.Its two twining narratives clearly belong together, in the same world. And that's the point, great events existing within and being produced by the nearly indestructible framework of people leading their daily lives.
—Seth Steinzor, author of To Join the Lost
About the Author:
Susan V. Weiss wrote, read and taught in Burlington, Vermont, where she also organized community writing events and initiated writing projects for offenders, refugees, and homeless people.