At the age of 49, after a lifetime of insomnia and midnight peril, William Cowling believes the hour has come for him to sieze control. So, he begins to dig a hole in his backyard--a shelter against impending doom--much to the chagrin of his family. Ultimately, he finds he must make a choice: safety or sanity; love or fidelity to the truth. Darkly comic, poignant, and provocative, this visionary novel by the author of In the Lake of the Woods captures the essence of what it's like to be a conscious human being in the nuclear age Pub: 6,000.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
In 1969, 22-year-old Tim O'Brien was drafted and eventually sent to Vietnam. In a memoir, If I Die in a Combat Zone and two works of fiction--Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried--he revisited the war, crafting gut-wrenching tales of terror, death, and futility among the rice paddies and jungles of Southeast Asia. In The Nuclear Age the author explores the road not taken: his hero, William Cowling, avoided the draft and spent the 1960s, instead, in a welter of antiwar radicalism. But soon one begins to wonder how different life in the underground, with its strange mix of idealistic visionaries and glory-seeking psychotics, really is from the battlefields of Vietnam. Enlisted in the ranks of an antiwar paramilitary organization in Florida, William remarks to his radical girlfriend Sarah that the group is "like a death squad. Can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, they're all gunslingers. Completely scrambled. But it's lethal. I know that much, it'll kill somebody." Nevertheless, he sticks it out in a noncombatant capacity and resurfaces several years later at the end of the war as a profitable trader in uranium.
Success hasn't dulled William Cowling's survival instinct, however; at the novel's start in 1995, the now-middle-aged businessman is busy digging a bomb shelter in his back yard. Nuclear war has been a particular obsession of his since those childhood drills back in the mid-1950s during which he was expected to crawl under his desk at school and cover his head against fallout. Forty years later, he still isn't taking any chances. His daughter thinks he's crazy, his wife is on the verge of leaving him, but still he digs--and as he digs he reviews the events in his life that have led up to this moment. The Nuclear Age is especially strong when it focuses on William's childhood and the complex web of relationships that exist within families. Less successful is O'Brien's portrayal of his character's obsession with nuclear war; though we are meant to see William as the only truly sane man in an insane world, all too often he comes across as genuinely cracked. Despite the book's weaknesses, it has many strengths, not least among them being Tim O'Brien's fierce intelligence, black wit, and eloquent prose. --Alix WilberFrom the Publisher:
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.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Flamingo, 1987. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. All orders are dispatched the following working day from our UK warehouse. Established in 2004, we have over 500,000 books in stock. No quibble refund if not completely satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001864347
Book Description Book Condition: Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # SKU-4495449
Book Description Bookseller Inventory # SKU-3158856
Book Description -. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The Nuclear Age (Flamingo) This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780006541882
Book Description Flamingo, 1987. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The Nuclear Age (Flamingo) This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780006541882
Book Description Flamingo 16/04/1987, 1987. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 2341-9780006541882
Book Description Flamingo 16/04/1987, 1987. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 6545-9780006541882
Book Description Flamingo, 1987. Paperback. | B Format (7¾" x 5¼"). | 320pp. For more photos or information, use the «Ask Bookseller» button and I'll be pleased to help. The book is in stock and ships from the rustic nirvana of Peasedown St. John, near Bath, England from a long-established bookseller - guaranteed by my reputation and the UK Distance Selling Act. Remember! BUYING THIS BOOK means my Jack Russells get their supper! Condition :: Good. An acceptable reading copy with clear signs of previous ownership and shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # 139160
Book Description Dell Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: Very Good. 0006541887 UK BASED SELLER SHIPS DAILY ALL OVERSEAS VIA AIRMAIL. Bookseller Inventory # PP0015965
Book Description Dell Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: Very Good. 0006541887 UK BASED SELLER SHIPS DAILY ALL OVERSEAS SHIPPING VIA AIRMAIL *PLEASE NOTE THE COVER MAY VARY TO ONE SHOWN*. Bookseller Inventory # CC0006259