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  • Paperback
  • 544
  • Oh Pure and Radiant Heart
  • Lydia Millet
  • English
  • 21 September 2019
  • 9780156031035

summary Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

summary Oh Pure and Radiant Heart 109 Oppenheimer's first full day at the motel was devoted to television He located the remote on the bedside table where it sat beside the enigmatic telephone with its sheet of intricate numeric instructions and eventually by pressing the button marked power discovered its function from OH PURE AND RADIANT HEARTIn Oh Pure and Radiant Heart the three dead geniuses who invented the atomic bomb Robert Oppenheimer Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi. novels this ambitious nuclear science military industrial complex American religion fascinating imaginative Oppenheimer Fermi and Szilard come back from the dead and funny great satire of the sun belt rich don t come along all that often They should be read when they do But as everyone who has read this book has pointed out OPRH could have been cut by a uarter without really losing much of anything The problem is which uarter do you cut Some readers could do with a great deal less of Ann and Ben s relationship Their argument is generally not that Ann and Ben could be eliminated they play an important narrative role at least but that there is far too much of them given how uninteresting they are Some readers could do without the history of the USA s nuclear program Their argument in short is I hate learning Keep facts out of my novels I don t think anyone would want less of the final uarter the story of Oppenheimer Fermi and Szilard coming back from the dead All three are wonderful characters their actions dramatize perfectly the problems of scientific knowledge social ignorance political activism and religious belief That said some would probably prefer a convincing ending Millet could have left it open but this is a roman a these and I understand why she ends as she does Some readers could do without the philosophizing that the characters get up to particularly Anne who is given to thinking things like If a country were like a crowd with feeling rippling among the ranks instead of a network of institutions all distant from each other it would not control itself with such coldness and such economy If a country were like a body then it might have a chance to know itself 271 Is this satire AnnMillet must know that bodies don t know themselves right That bodies react to external stimuli without mediation So if a country were like a body not only would it not know itself it would probably start a war every time someone brought one too many bottles of wine back from the Rhine geopolitical version of a mosuito bite Later we get even immortal thought along the bad Rilke lines of wouldn t it be great to be an object so then you couldn t choose things and then you d be content why don t people just accept this objecthood and embrace it Because Ann then we d all be dead Ben is guilty too It is the world with its animals tides and seasons he thought it is the world that gives us such a soul as we have It gives us life and we all it our own 274 If this seems a little less silly than Ann don t worry Ben will get absolutely moronic twenty pages later 293 If the world gave us our souls why were the souls so impoverished Because you know the world is so naturally full and perfect We have obscured the world he said to himself we have forgotten what the world is We believe we are it We can t see past ourselves to the world he thought Right that s it The world is perfect it gives us our soul but we ve done something wrong with those souls though I suppose the souls should have caused us to act as we did and the naturalist s rather theological dilemma if everything is natural what causes evil Oppenheimer Fermi and Szilard also get into a bit of the old cod philosophizing but at least with them it s often just a reaction to how much the world has changed since their last memories of it in the mid century Now you might think I ve tipped my hand fairly heavily here as to what I d like to see less of Yes I like the very short bits on the history of nuclear weapons Obviously you think I object to the philosophizing But not so my friend If I were to cut Ann and Ben would get the axe It s important to have some kind of domestic arrangement here it holds the book together but we only need connective tissue Millet just doesn t make the very mild ups and downs of their relationship matter in fact the only time I was at all interested was when I realized Ann s obsession with the scientists could be read meta narratively as Millet s obsession with the scientists That fits well with the most intelligent aspect of the novel how to make the impossible choice between complete domestic happiness and social activism But it s a bad sign for the romance angle when it functions best as commentary on another part of your book Now that said the philosophy expounded here is horrific I m fine with books that philosophize at great length I object however to books thati stick words and thoughts in the characters mouths when those words and thoughts are fairly obviously those of the author This is what a narrator is for to say things the author thinks Millet is too far into close third person for that to work This is a technical issue that can t be overcome ii go on at great length with bad philosophy This is my third Millet book and I m fairly sure she s setting herself up as the Tolstoy of deep ecology Nothing wrong with that but if you want to make the case for goodness sake at least make it well There s no reason to become a positivist what is is the world and the world is right You can stop just short of that at nature mystic at least then you re not claiming that there s any rational basis behind the feelings outlined so clearly by Freud in his work on religion iii expound a philosophy that directly contradicts the book s form as here You can t be a positivist and write close third person There is no close perspective in positivism only bodies being pushed around That s an awful lot of criticism so let me repeat novels this ambitious fascinating imaginative and funny don t come along all that often and they should be read when they do And of course I might be wrong Millet might be presenting the deep flaws in ecological thought and not affirming that thought itself In any case Millet forces you to think in ways that the average novelist can only dream of As I said Tolstoy of deep ecology

free download ↠ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ä Lydia MilletOh Pure and Radiant Heart

summary Oh Pure and Radiant Heart 109 Y acuire a billionaire pothead benefactor and a growing convoy of RVs carrying groupies drifters activists former Deadheads New Age freeloaders and religious fanaticsIn this heroically mischievous sweeping tour de force Lydia Millet brings us an apocalyptic fable that marries the personal to the political confronts the longing for immortality with the desire for redemption and evokes both the beauty and the tragedy of the nuclear subli. Lydia Millet s book is one of the best I ve read in the past year It s beautifully written smart filled with the sense of the impermanence of existence the frailty of our species the beautiful foolishness of our attempts to tamper with Nature It will make you think differently it might make you weep It has some amazingly beautiful lines and observations The plot becomes fantastical at the end you have to be willing to go on the journey with Millet but it s a hell of a ride Thanks Telaina for turning me on to this great book Cuentos Peruanos pothead benefactor and a growing convoy of RVs carrying groupies drifters activists former Deadheads New Age freeloaders and religious fanaticsIn this heroically mischievous sweeping tour de force Lydia Millet brings us an apocalyptic fable that marries the Code Und Material personal to the Schaum's Easy Outline of Italian Schaumªs Easy Outlines Series political confronts the longing for immortality with the desire for redemption and evokes both the beauty and the tragedy of the nuclear subli. Lydia Millet s book is one of the best I ve read in the Drill Ground Instructor past year It s beautifully written smart filled with the sense of the impermanence of existence the frailty of our species the beautiful foolishness of our attempts to tamper with Nature It will make you think differently it might make you weep It has some amazingly beautiful lines and observations The Mansfield A Novel plot becomes fantastical at the end you have to be willing to go on the journey with Millet but it s a hell of a ride Thanks Telaina for turning me on to this great book

Lydia Millet ä 9 read

summary Oh Pure and Radiant Heart 109 Mysteriously appear in Sante Fe New Mexico in 2003 nearly sixty years after they watched history's first mushroom cloud rise over the New Mexico desert in 1945 One by one they are discovered by a shy librarian who takes them in and devotes herself to them Faced with the evidence of their nuclear legacy the scientists embark on a global disarmament campaign that takes them from Hiroshima to Nevada to the United Nations Along the way the. Someone from Booklist has read Lydia Millet s Oh Pure And Radiant Heart and encourages would be readers to think Twain Vonnegut Murakami and DeLillo Since I enjoyed the novel enough to finish it I think I m ualified to amend that listTwain do not think Twain Not even for a second You re thinking Twain right now and I m telling you no Stop Twain loved nothing than as the British punks say taking the piss Millet probably began her novel with the intention of taking the piss out of America s soul withering reliance on nuclear arms but when she s not focusing on that she s putting the piss into so many other narratives particularly the marriage of Ann and Ben a bond which goes further than the novel s fantastic ending to strain all credulity it freuently became difficult for me to take seriously what the author takes seriously This is not Huckleberry Finn This is not even Tom Sawyer Detective This is simply not TwainVonnegut Murakami fairly apt comparisons actually Millet takes a cheerfully flaky approach to the most dire subject imaginable and uses absolutely everything she has at her disposal to make her argument sing and persuade a tack similar to that of Vonnegut and Murakami Having said that it is important to reiterate I think that Vonnegut and Murakami achieve their effect with varying degrees of success Same here Oh Pure And Radiant Heart might not resonate as deeply as Slaughterhouse Five but there is no denying the similarity of approach and effectDeLillo yes Lots and lots of DeLillo The principal characters puzzle over the significance of the most arcane subjects that float across their field of vision which sometimes yields surprising insights and at other times yields unintentionally comic punchlines This is definitely DeLillo who can be obliuely terrifying and heartbreaking but who can also strain the patience of readers who finally have to get the groceries in from the carI will add one name to this list a substitute for America s greatest satirist Madeleine L Engle a fanciful writer who loved science but for whom physics was not always metaphysics enough L Engle s raison d etre as a writer was to explore the motivations that turned people from loving and lovable creatures into dire grotesues that would willingly exterminate another s indeed all life There are moments when Oh Pure And Radiant Heart reads like A Wrinkle In Time utterly divorced of the daily and grounding concerns of family This might be intentional it is freuently effective But it also generates a confused sort of loyalty in the characters which just as freuently tried my patience as a readerIt is surely a rich irony that New Mexico which has played host to so many nuclear tests is one of America s most fecund artistic locales and the launching site of various strains of New Age thinking and behavior Is this novel a satire of vaguely arty but ultimately misplaced hope Is it an evisceration of the mentality that absurdly relies on nuclear arms for a sense of safety Does it lay bare a muddle that our society has persuaded itself is a mystery Occasionally the novel succeeds at all of the above too occasionally for me to give it a flat out recommendation