Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Atomic Romance” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
An Atomic Romance
Bobbie Ann Mason
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Atomic Romance

2.98  ·  Rating Details ·  158 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Reed, an engineer at a uranium-enrichment plant in heartland America, is too casual about the radioactive incidents he's endured for the tastes of his girlfriend, Julia. Then deformed frogs are discovered at the site.
Audio, 0 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published August 23rd 2005)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about An Atomic Romance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about An Atomic Romance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 279)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 30, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This sucked. It was repetitive and boring. Let me sum up the whole book for you:
Reed: I don't give a shit if I die of radiation poisoning. I just look at the stars and everything is fine. By the way, I'm desperately in love with you, Julia, but I keep fucking everything up.
Julia: I love you, but I can't handle the fact that you glow green and won't quit your dumbass job.
Reed: My job is fine. No one in the government would lie and let workers die slowly and painfully.
Julia: Well, I was stupid en
Mar 27, 2016 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Vise of Life is closing its jaws in on Reed Futrell. His mother is failing and will likely need to go to a nursing home, there are questions about the nuclear fuel processing plant where Reed works as a maintenance engineer, and his girlfriend Julia appears to be drifting apart from him, in part because of her concern over the risks he is exposed to at the plant and in part because she is developing a hankering to study molecular biology. Reed's tasks are to hold off the Vise of Life until h ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was O.K. The characters well-developed, but not that interesting. Bits of science (from radiation to string theory to molecular biology) played roles both within the plot and metaphorically, but the "romance" just didn't interest me.
In this novel Bobbie Ann Mason combines romance with space-time theories, mid-life crisis, nuclear contamination, family crisis, Hubble telescope photographs, life-long friendship, internet match-making, string theory, Clarence the dog and a bit of stream-of-consciousness thinking.

Ms. Mason's writing is saucey, witty, erudite and lively. She wrote the story from inside the mind of Reed Futrell, protagonist extraordinare. Reed is in the midst of a mid-life crisis where has to care for his aging s
Jul 22, 2016 jimtown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1960-s
I was eager to read this more recent book by Bobbie Ann Mason because her In Country was a book I truly enjoyed and could relate to. It's one of my rare five star books. I was interested to see where she was at after a long absence from writing.

If you watch and enjoy The Big Bang Theory on TV, then you might also enjoy An Atomic Romance. I think the 2005 book predates the show. I've only recently started watching Big Bang and it has opened my eyes and made Mason's book make much more sense to me
Rosina Lippi
Jan 17, 2010 Rosina Lippi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atomic Romance is a good novel. A really good novel, in many ways. Engaging and beautifully written and observed. But it's also missing something important.

This is the story of Reed Futrell, a guy in his forties, divorced, with two grown children. He's got a mother who made a lifetime out of independent quirkiness; he's got an on-again-off-again girlfriend with whom he shares a consuming interest in quantum mechanics and the Hubble telescope; he has worked for twenty years as an engineer making
I listened to the audio of this book. I live in Oak Ridge, TN, which used to be called the atomic city so I could identify with much the author says in this book, although I think her book is probably based on the DOE plant in Padukah, KY, not Oak Ridge, but it could be any nuclear plant city. If I didn't live here and have some knowledge of people who have become ill because of the chemicals that are found in the plants and those that have been improperly disposed of in the past, I might not ha ...more
Thom (T.E.)
To start: a wonderful choice of setting, situation, and subject matter. The industrial plants and associated towns of the Tennessee Valley that, around mid-century, went from being mining-centered to nuclear. How some people (and families) get in front of the situation when something new moves in--and they succeed some but they are also taken advantage of by those who are at the top of the company ladder and don't have their hearts into keeping the community healthy and prosperous.

The leads are
Jan 26, 2009 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die-hard Bobbie Ann Mason fans
I had a difficult time trying to write a review for "An Atomic Romance"; I really, really wanted to like this book, because Mason is a wonderful writer, but I just didn't have any emotional investment in the book after finishing it.

Mason tried to be provocative and provide a romantic, science-laden, passing on the generational torch morality lesson, but all I came away with was "The book's about a horny middle-aged guy who doesn't want to die, tries to be like Marlon Brando, and really needs to
Dec 24, 2008 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good audio book and a well written story. The characters were flawed in realistic ways and their interactions and conversations seemed natural. The story is about the personal journey of one man through an awakening to the world beyond himself and love. The potential is always there, the reader sees it, but the character really comes to see it in himself. Besides the love story that the book jacket proclaims it to be, I think it is also the story of the relationship of parents to chil ...more
Jan 16, 2009 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unusual
This is written by a Kentucky author and a story based on the atomic energy plant in Paducah Kentucky where my dad worked for most of the first 30 years of its existence. The plot and people are presented in a remarkably realistic way,and I enjoyed reading it. The romance is not the youthful first romance but the middle age been there before kind. A different kind of read, but with some of the joy of romance and lots of thoughtful issues about work, relationships and people as well as the "radi ...more
Mary Campbell
Jack Alexander
Fear and loathing of uranium. I liked the premise, the science and the characters but the dialogue was a bit drawn out causing too much repetition.
Gerald Curtis
Sep 23, 2011 Gerald Curtis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not read more than the first few pages. This author was new to me, but I took a chance because the topic of working in an atomic facility that goes awry interested me. However, the first few pages were so saturated with crude and vulgar language and topics that I could go no further.
Aug 25, 2012 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This story doesn't live up to it's title. I was very disappointed. There's not much in the story to call it a romance. Lots of science and scientific talk. The whole main storyline was kind of depressing (aging mother has a stroke, hospitals, nursing homes, problems at work, drunk friend, etc).
Jan 13, 2013 Savvy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Wanted to like this more than I did because the main character had a quirky sense of humor and provided some comic relief from the seriousness of the situation. rambled on and on in places with thoughts and info not relevant to the plot which made it somewhat boring.
Bookmarks Magazine

In her first novel in a decade, Mason examines the joys and sorrows of life in an atomic Heartland town. It seems, however, that a decade-long break hasn't done Mason any favors. While a few critics called the novel wholly original, many felt it courted every clich_

Jul 17, 2011 Tamlyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Good book, but kind of slow in parts. I loved all the astronomy & physics, but the excruciating detail of the fix-it jobs in the plant was a bit too much. All in all, not terrible and an interesting take on the nuclear industry.
Kinda slow, but I like the sciencey side of it and I am sticking it out. I had to return it to the library before finishing, but I might get it again someday just to see how it ends.
With a family history in that environment, it was familiar territory spun into a very real drama. A very perceptive portrayal of the various mindsets common I've lived with all my life.
Rheba Smith
Oct 15, 2012 Rheba Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was totally unreadable. I don't understand why because Bobbie Ann Mason wrote one of my favorite all time books, Feather Crowns.

Anyway, don't waste your money.
Sara D
Sep 08, 2011 Sara D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
An excellent domestic romance set against the background of an imaginary nuclear-materials facility with a long history of safety violations. Good thing this is just fiction, eh?
Aug 02, 2008 Landismom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Denial is what you are experiencing if you are an engineer in a nuclear plant whose father died in a work-related accident at the same plant.
Dec 05, 2014 Carmine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a soft spot for underachievers, misfits, and unconventional romances, so I loved this intelligent, thoughtful, well-written story.
May 23, 2010 Michelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
a strange yet compelling story of a nuclear plant worker who falls in love with a young scientist
Dec 12, 2010 Jason rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was not the intended audience for this book.
BookDB marked it as to-read
Sep 05, 2016
Nicolette Zorn
Nicolette Zorn marked it as to-read
Aug 26, 2016
Maryroseanne marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Waiting for Teddy Williams
  • The Pleasure Was Mine
  • Taking Lottie Home
  • Orchard
  • Eat, Drink, and Be From Mississippi
  • The Heaven of Mercury
  • Starting Over: Stories
  • Hummingbirds
  • The Work of Wolves
  • The King of Kings County
  • The Divine Husband
  • Canaan's Tongue
  • What You Have Left
  • The Diezmo: A Novel
  • Going to the Sun
  • The Green Age of Asher Witherow
  • Lightning Song
  • For Rouenna: A Novel
Bobbie Ann Mason has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Her books include In Country and Feather Crowns. She lives in Kentucky.
More about Bobbie Ann Mason...

Share This Book