The Blind Light

Norton. Oct. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9781324006251. $27.95. F
Doom Town, Evers’s imagined simulation of the aftermath of a nuclear attack, is both fiction and metaphor. In this novel of steadfast friendship, conscripts become acclimated to human-wrought obliteration. Doom Town is a training ground for British soldiers where Carter, a son of privilege, and Drummond, a child of the working class, become comrades and friends, ultimately inseparable. It is also where their mutual obsession with surviving a nuclear attack begins. Here, nuclear annihilation is a blinding symbol of foreboding, of impending disaster, a theoretical analogy to the unforeseen disasters the two families must actually face. At times, the reader will hear the forlorn echo of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, but Evers (Your Father Sends His Love) unfailingly reminds us that there is hope, always hope, even in the truly moving death scene near the end. The narrative follows Carter, Drummond, and their families over 60 years, during which lives intertwine, children are born, and personalities evolve.
VERDICT Unpredictable character arcs will keep readers wondering what will happen next, and the many tragedies and triumphs of each family evoke the same epic feel of generational change as Edna Ferber’s Giant.

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