I’ve got to hand it to Goodreads. I never would have even heard of this book if it weren’t for the reading friends I’ve made there. And that would have been a shame, because Evidence of Things Unseen is going on my list of all-time favorite books and likely the best book I’ve read this year.
The book opens with Fos (nicknamed for Ray Foster), a World War I vet, home from the trenches, with a new found appreciation for science and technology. He meets Opal on a trip to see the Perseid meteor shower on the North Carolina coast, and immediately knows they are destined to marry.
“That was Fos’ way with things, looking on the bright side. Seeing glowing halos where others saw false paragons decaying into chalk inside abandoned churches. The difference between Fos and Opal was the difference between x and something absolute. Fos was light; and Opal, matter. Together they were two sides of the same page.”
And yet in the midst of Fos’ hope for the future, the great depression bears heavy upon the country, and Opal’s hopes for a family become dimmer with each passing month.
Marianne Wiggins paints a striking tale of a young couple looking eagerly at the future, and a country which also places its hopes in the promise of the Atomic Age. Like the couple, America finds that you should be careful what you wish for.
With amazing prose, this author has presented a slice of history and dares you to look deeper. It is not surprising that Evidence of Things Unseen was a National Book Award finalist. It is the total package – a great story, beautiful writing, history and depth. I only wish I could find more books of this caliber.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2003