Summary Evidence of Things Unseen ☆ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF


  • Paperback
  • 400
  • Evidence of Things Unseen
  • Marianne Wiggins
  • English
  • 15 June 2018
  • 9780743258098

10 thoughts on “Evidence of Things Unseen

  1. says:

    The first thing I noticed in this book was Wiggen’s use of poetic language Beautiful But in the beginning of the book at least it was too much for me Like too many plums in the pudding too much sauce on the pasta Tasty gems need a matrix to shine against When it’s all chocolate chips and no cookie it can become cloying The writing lovely as it was slowed me down because it kept bringing attention to itself I love gorgeous writing but when I’m reading a novel I don’t want to keep stopping to admire the view at every step of the path But as I got into the book I either stopped noticing the pearls so much or she used them judiciously and it was smooth sailing from there onIt did however take a long time before I really cared about Fos and Opal There were times when I was just slogging along without much emotional involvement I wonder if that was because Fos and Opal were so inarticulate so turned in upon themselves that I felt as if they were unknowableI kept stopping to ponder the world in which Fos and Opal lived They were a little older than I am a little younger than my parents so many of the events in the book were things that happened in my lifetime In a way it was like being a kid again lying on my stomach in the living room in LA reading about the TVA and the bomb in Life MagazineI will say right here since nobody else has mentioned it that Wiggins’ use of dialect put me off A cadence a slight tinge here and there would have been enough to make us aware of Opal’s and Fos’s speech patterns Did she need to write things like “whatcha gonna do” phonetically like that? Listen to any bunch of American English speakers in an informal situation and they’ll talk like that too So I can’t see the necessity of writing their speech the way Wiggins did I realize she wanted us to know how isolated and uneducated these two were but just a touch would have done it Overloading the dialect sounds condescending Li’l Abner and Mammy YokumThis is beginning to sound like I didn’t like the book I did But these are the reasons it didn’t get 5 stars from me I loved the sense of wonder at the natural world especially the theme of light carried through the book—stars phosphorescence x rays electricity radiation photography Did you know that photographers are often referred to as “keepers of the light?”


  2. says:

    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 yearThe book opens with Fos nicknamed for Ray Foster a World War I vet home from the trenches with a newfound 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 haloes 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 monthMarianne 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 forWith 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 books of this caliber


  3. says:

    In this world where bombs are dropped to end a war; where people living in clean new identical houses and whose sons spend dreamy summer evenings in tents in the back build the atomic bomb and cheer when it explodes because it means money for them and their town how can you believe in love or other wonderful unseen things? Flash Opal Fos and Lighfoot are all searching for clues about the truth about who they are and what they want in life and what is real and good while just like the white whale in Moby Dick this same truth is hunting them down They each learn that some of the things that are unseen in life can be beautiful while some are ugly and can ultimately lead to your death Light flickers through this whole novel with glowing watch faces lightning bugs a phosphorous rock x rays electricity fish hearts women’s names and available light for photographs But love is the ultimate light that can make the dark into your friend so that the things unseen do not destroy your soul This book is stuffed full of events and moves and changes yet it is written in simple wistful language


  4. says:

    My distaste for this book can be understood by a sentence very early on in this novelBlinking in the the rain he saw her bones smooth as horn beneath the fabric of her dress where it clung flat as oil on water to her form he saw the flat spades of her scapulae and her ropy spine rising from the meager compass of her unspanned hips toward the frail width of her slender shoulders Not only do we have a string of similes with nothing in common thrown together like a beginning writer in order to impress but we have some ridiculous phrasing as well unspanned hips? Really? Further this is very early in the book where the main character Fos is described as not being interested in girls like his partner is and yet the first woman we meet a married woman helping her husband to push out a stuck car is gawked at like a 12 year old in front of their first breasts and the second woman we meet he stares at likewise and then is almost immediately having sex withWiggins is a powerful writer much of the time but so much of this book felt like too much piling on too beholden to its research which I must add is great and super interesting and not enough concerned with rendering the world through the eyes of its characters If you like poetic sounding language and don't mind when it spirals out of control completely this is for you but if you like poetic language that is used for a purpose that enriches the text maybe hit up Annie Proulx or Lee K Abbott


  5. says:

    I’m not the kind of person to gush I believe that the 80 20 ratio of great to mediocre applies to all things including books So when I do gush I mean it And I’m gushing Evidence of Things Unseen covers the range of historical events from one great war to the next through the lives of Ray and Opal More than an examination of America during the interwar years this is a novel about death love and above all the search for a meaning to illuminate our lives Wiggins's writing is luminous covering everything from the hardscrabble uotidian to the prayerfully poeticThis has all the heart mind and soul of a great novel and like all such works lights up the dark corners of all our oh too human hearts


  6. says:

    I thought this book was spectacularly well written with gorgeous language and very clever use of mathematical and scientific language to create romantic descriptions There were several very obvious themes woven throughout which I found enjoyable but I acknowledge that other reviews thought they were overdone or contrived I loved them and found the use of Light and Radiance throughout to be very interesting I also thought hanging elements of the story on a Moby Dick frame was cool and now realize I need to read THAT book too To me the distinct themes and the semi secret references to Moby Dick reinforced the idea of things unseen an underlying structure or synchronicity in life? that you might not really be aware ofThe characters were very interesting if tragically flawed and I have found myself thinking about the story constantly That is a key indicator for me of a special book If it feels forgettable it is This one for me is notAlso very compelling for me was the setting Knoxville and Oak Ridge places I know well and that the author clearly knows well The depiction of life in East Tennessee from WWI through WWII felt very realistic with the uniuely southern influences of TVA the KKK and Appalachian mindsets This story was written from the inside and had the ring of truth I've already recommended it to several family members and consider it a keeper


  7. says:

    Note When my opinion is so absolutely opposite of the majority of the readers of a book I feel a bit than just the star rating is necessary In this case it's not difficult to explain why I have the opinion I doI was very excited when I started this book We live on Clinch Mountain near to Clinch River and not that far from Oak Ridge Since I was born in the 50s the development of The Bomb has always interested me That it's written by a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist seemed to be just icing on the cake Imagine my surprise when the cake turned out to be a cow pattyIn no particular order here are a few of the things that irked me to no endThe Name GameEach time I read a character's name or another one was introduced I found myself cringing You know that annoying guy who talks too loud at parties who laughs too loud while making moronic observations that he finds incredibly clever? Know how when you don't laugh he announces that you just don't get him? Know the frustration that because you were raised to be polite you can't bring yourself to tell him that you do get him that you get he's an idiot? That's something along the lines of how I feel about Wiggins' little name game There's Fos Get it? Like phosphorescence Huh? Huh? Do you get it?Ray Foster real name of Fos Like a ray of light Bet you didn't get that did you?Flash Again like light but this time also like photography Are you sure you are getting the light motif?Opal A semi precious stone that's pale and seems to glow See? More lightLightfoot DuhRamona de la Luz And here's light in another language Pearl Very similar to Opal The Main CharactersEven though I managed to grit my teeth and get past the heavy handed naming I could not get past the basic disgust I felt for the three main characters They weren't too bad at first a bit two dimensional and inane but bearable But then came the Flash and Lally affair Here's a grown man messing around with a young girl a girl who was at the most 13 or 14 years old A grown man who got her pregnant A grown man who didn't take her to the hospital but rather let her bleed out in his car because of a botched abortion And what do Flash's two friends do? They support him as much as they can Never mind about the girl She is never mentioned again Never mind that he's a worthless piece of crap He's their friend and the reader is supposed to buy into the premise that Flash's conviction was just brought about because the DA is Flash's brother and jealous The reader is supposed to feel oh so sorry for Flash and Fos and Opal Well this reader didn't One of the worst aspects of this part of the story is that I was so disgusted with Flash and the Fosters that I found myself coming down on the side of the KKK when they tore up the studioAs bad as that was it got even worse when it came to the murdersuicide of Opal and Fos What nice people they were what good parents So kind So considerate I mean Fos even went so far as to half heartedly ask one of the neighbors if she would take care of Lightfoot should something happen When she said she couldn't Fos didn't press the issue or even bother to ask anyone else No big deal It's only his son Nothing to worry about Nothing to interrupt his plans He overdoses himself and Opal with morphine on the night before Lightfoot's birthday What a joy for a little boy to wake up on his birthday and find his parents dead And since Fos had made no plans whatsoever for Lightfoot so the authorities have no choice but to cart him off to an orphanage There's no need to go into the rest of the story as there's not all that much story there and I'm pretty disgusted with even thinking about Flash StyleAs if the characters and names weren't bad enough there was Wiggins' style on top of it all I never could figure out if it was because she flat out wanted to annoy her readers or if she was just being pretentious Single paragraphs run over several pages Sentences run on forever and ever and ever and ever uotation marks do not exist Dialog is mixed in with thoughts so you have to puzzle out who said what who thought what and who didn't say anything at all By the end I didn't care who didsaidthought what I didn't care for anything but getting through this mess It had come down to me against Wiggins and I wasn't going to let her winI'm reminded of a restaurant in France my husband and some of his colleagues went to several years ago The restaurant had the reputation for being one of the best in the world and the Michelin stars to back it up After all their anticipation they were terribly disappointed It was typical whole lot of nothing on big white plate cuisine and if that weren't bad enough the specialty of the house was raw pigeon Marianne Wiggins' Evidence of Things Unseen is a whole lot of nothing and what is there is as unappetizing as raw pigeonPS Apparently Wiggins couldn't be bothered to do anything as mundane as glance at a map The Norris Dam is on the Clinch River not the Tennessee River Fos and Opal lived on the Clinch River not the Tennessee


  8. says:

    This is a touching story of the tender love between Fos and Opal Fos is a man who has always been fascinated by things that glowfalling stars in the night sky; bioluminescence in the dark seaHe accidentally finds Opal when his truck breaks down while he is in NC to see the meteor showers Opal is uite the repairman so she has him on the road again uicklyand she's with himThe author Marianne Wiggins deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this novel It is a riveting story of America before and during the Atomic Age Fos and Opal end up working in Oak Ridge TN when the race for the Atomic bomb is at it's height But before that they travel the country taking X Ray pictures at County Fairs They don't do this for medical reasons Everyone is thrilled to get to see the bones inside their skin And willing to pay money for this treatThis book flows like poetry The descriptions and feelings of the characters stayed with me long after I finished this book One particular scene that showed love and tenderness at it's deepest level was the scene of Fos bathing Opal It wasn't the sexuality of it that touched me Indeed it wasn't really sexualBut the tender gentle amazing love portrayed 'blew me out of the water'I highly recommend this book


  9. says:

    Absolutely beautiful book I read it as slowly as I possibly could so as to savor it


  10. says:

    This nearly 400 page book mesmerized me from the breathtaking opening paragraph The story of Fos and Opal grows from their innate curiosity in the world around them Fos an amateur scientist thrives on luminescence in all its forms Opal loves learning and longs to build a future with Fos Their love intensifies through tragedy and hardship in the years between the first World War and the second as the world of science becomes weaponizedThe story feels leisurely at first luring the reader deep inside with lyrical prose and depth of character then it delivers a gut punch Then another And anotherNevermind the punctuation free dialogue that feels like the author or publisher is trying to look artsy like an overpriced canvas with a single splotch of color on it The worse distraction is the eyelash thin footnote size font that strains the eye The story was worth the extra effort it took to read itNote to self Buy the next Wiggins book in ebook to increase the font size or as an audio book It would sound like poetry


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Marianne Wiggins ✓ 8 characters

Evidence of Things Unseen

Eteor shower he falls in love with Opal whose father is a glassblower who can spin color out of lightFos brings his new wife back to Knoxville where he runs a photography studio with his former Army buddy Flash A witty rogue and a staunch disbeliever in Prohibition Flash brings tragedy to the couple when his appetite for pleasure runs up against both the law and the Ku Klux Klan Fos and Opal are forced to move to Opal's mother's farm on the Clinch River and soon they have a son Lightfoot But when the New I’m not the kind of person to gush I believe that the 80 20 ratio of great to mediocre applies to all things including books So when I do gush I mean it And I’m gushing Evidence of Things Unseen covers the range of historical events from one great war to the next through the lives of Ray and Opal More than an examination of America during the interwar years this is a novel about death love and above all the search for a meaning to illuminate our lives Wiggins's writing is luminous covering everything from the hardscrabble uotidian to the prayerfully poeticThis has all the heart mind and soul of a great novel and like all such works lights up the dark corners of all our oh too human hearts

Summary æ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ✓ Marianne Wiggins

This poetic novel by the acclaimed author of John Dollar describes America at the brink of the Atomic Age In the years between the two world wars the future held promise than peril but there was evidence of things unseen that would transfigure our unuestioned trust in a safe future Fos has returned to Tennessee from the trenches of France Intrigued with electricity bioluminescence and especially x rays he believes in science and the future of technology On a trip to the Outer Banks to study the Perseid m In this world where bombs are dropped to end a war; where people living in clean new identical houses and whose sons spend dreamy summer evenings in tents in the back build the atomic bomb and cheer when it explodes because it means money for them and their town how can you believe in love or other wonderful unseen things? Flash Opal Fos and Lighfoot are all searching for clues about the truth about who they are and what they want in life and what is real and good while just like the white whale in Moby Dick this same truth is hunting them down They each learn that some of the things that are unseen in life can be beautiful while some are ugly and can ultimately lead to your death Light flickers through this whole novel with glowing watch faces lightning bugs a phosphorous rock x rays electricity fish hearts women’s names and available light for photographs But love is the ultimate light that can make the dark into your friend so that the things unseen do not destroy your soul This book is stuffed full of events and moves and changes yet it is written in simple wistful language

Free download Evidence of Things Unseen

Deal claims their farm for the TVA Fos seeks work at the Oak Ridge Laboratory Site X in the government's race to build the bomb And it is there when Opal falls ill with radiation poisoning that Fos's great faith in science deserts him Their lives have traveled with touching inevitability from their innocence and fascination with things that glow to the new world of manmade suns Hypnotic and powerful Evidence of Things Unseen constructs a heartbreaking arc through twentieth century American life and beli This is a touching story of the tender love between Fos and Opal Fos is a man who has always been fascinated by things that glowfalling stars in the night sky; bioluminescence in the dark seaHe accidentally finds Opal when his truck breaks down while he is in NC to see the meteor showers Opal is uite the repairman so she has him on the road again uicklyand she's with himThe author Marianne Wiggins deserves a Pulitzer Prize for this novel It is a riveting story of America before and during the Atomic Age Fos and Opal end up working in Oak Ridge TN when the race for the Atomic bomb is at it's height But before that they travel the country taking X Ray pictures at County Fairs They don't do this for medical reasons Everyone is thrilled to get to see the bones inside their skin And willing to pay money for this treatThis book flows like poetry The descriptions and feelings of the characters stayed with me long after I finished this book One particular scene that showed love and tenderness at it's deepest level was the scene of Fos bathing Opal It wasn't the sexuality of it that touched me Indeed it wasn't really sexualBut the tender gentle amazing love portrayed 'blew me out of the water'I highly recommend this book


About the Author: Marianne Wiggins

Marianne Wiggins is the author of seven books of fiction including John Dollar and Evidence of Things Unseen She has won an NEA grant the Whiting Writers' Award and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and she was a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist in fiction for Evidence of Things Unseen.