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Changing Light

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  102 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Nora Gallagher's elegant debut novel is a love story set in Los Alamos in 1945, in the shadow of the creation of the first atomic bomb.During the last summer of World War II, in the beautiful high desert of New Mexico, a young painter, Eleanor Garrigue, discovers a delirious man lying by the river. She takes him in and cares for him, not knowing that he is Leo Kavan, a phy ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Pantheon Books (first published 2007)
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I usually reserve my one star ratings for books I don't finish but this one is the exception. I'll just say I'm glad that is over.
The quiet, spare beauty of New Mexico's mesas, and the changing desert light that reflects off spring snow, shimmers on pinon needles and marches relentlessly toward the heat of August 1945, create a vivid backdrop to a story about man's most terrible hour- the creation of the atomic bomb.

This is a complex and morally ambiguous story that is told simply, through the perspectives of Leo Kavan, a Jewish physicist and Czech national who has abandoned his post at the Los Alamos research complex, an
Alice  Heiserman
Aug 30, 2012 Alice Heiserman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most profound books I ever read. Its parallel plots involved the remorse of a Jewish physicist whose work was crucial to the making of the A-Bomb and his life in New Mexico before the bomb was dropped on Japan. The second plot line involves a woman artist who moved away from her husband, also an artist, but a declining one as her work was gaining potency. The physicist, Leo, suffering from radiation poisoning, stumbles his way into her life. She does not know who he is but nu ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Sheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book with such hope. A tale about the implications of building atomic bombs holds so much potential to delve into characters and the problems of the time period. However, Nora Gallagher never moves from the superficial.

This book attempts to develop two stories: one of an artist, who escapes an unhappy marriage; and one of a physicist who has been working on the atomic bomb. Both characters have interesting points, but are never fully developed. I would have enjoyed hearing more
Fran Caparrelli
Feb 27, 2009 Fran Caparrelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned some about the making of the bomb at Los Alamos which I haven't read much about. I will read more. I loved this book despite the serious subject of the bomb and the misgivings some had at the time about using this weapon and the fact that you can't undo the it once it is used. It also a love story and a story of a woman painter who finds the courage to be herself. I like reading about woman who do this before all the 60's women's lib movement. It reminds me that women from the beginnin ...more
Jan 12, 2015 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read after seeing Unbroken this week. We never learned about the experiments and building of the bombs in school.
Aug 19, 2007 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
set in northern New Mexico, every page takes me back to where I lived for one glorious year ... a physicist and an artist in a strange and dangerous romance

There is much about the secret project taking place at Los Alamos. There was much for me to learn more about the scientific and deadly experiments going on then ... quite horrifying actually.

I drove several times to (toward) Los Alamos when I lived at Jemez, but couldn't make myself go all the way. There was an eery and frightening feel about
Dec 23, 2007 Alicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ah, 1950s New Mexico--a place where a Czech Jewish scientist can flee in horror from his work on the A-bomb and meet up with a feisty Georgia O'Keefe-esque painter fleeing from her own crappy marriage, and immediately fall in love. Seriously, why do fictional characters form long-lasting love-type feelings for characters they've only known for five minutes? Were they that sexually repressed or something? I guess the two characters were interesting, but I really didn't buy their sudden romance. A ...more
Jul 18, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book mostly due to its focus on the Manhattan Project. It focuses quite a deal on the criticality accident involving Louis Slotin, and the main character of the novel. I thought it could be longer, I didn't feel like I had the time to get to know the characters and their motives.
Carol Hunter
Jul 30, 2007 Carol Hunter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I loved reading Woman at Ottawi Crossing, a story that took place in Los Alamos when "the bomb" was being developed. This love story also takes place at that time and is a wonderful debut novel.
Jane Glen
Aug 27, 2012 Jane Glen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Really loved this. It was full of imagery but at the same time, delved into many important issues. I would love to discuss this in a Book Club.
Sally Grey
There are some problems of time & loose ends but the technical descriptions of bomb making were compelling. A near miss.
Ann Canann
This is an exquisite love story of a painter and a physicist set in the New Mexico desert in 1945 at Los Almos.
Nov 07, 2008 Rita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book by a wonderful lady who graciously came to our book club meeting. Highly recommended
fairly religious, characters weren't totally believable but quite nice.
May 01, 2009 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2, actually. I got caught up in the story.
Must not have been great; don't remember it.
Pamela Strickland
It had it's moments.
Oct 29, 2007 Kat(e) added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
boring and transparent.
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