Roger DeBlanck's Reviews > The Nuclear Age

The Nuclear Age by Tim O'Brien
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Jan 27, 12


With a blend of humor and seriousness, O’Brien shows how the thought of a nuclear catastrophe becomes so real to his main character, William Cowling, that it drives him to extreme paranoia. He begins digging a hole in his backyard to use as a shelter against what he believes is the inevitable day of doom. Though Cowling may depict the hyper-tension of someone losing his mind, his fears confront the ignorance and negligence of our age’s refusal to acknowledge the potential threat of nuclear disaster. O’Brien may have written what amounts to a comedic novel, but the underlying message takes a dead-eye aim at the crucial need to engender constant awareness, though not vigilance that devolves into fanaticism. The book ultimately searches for a civility and calm amongst the dark forces of humanity that can have the world lined up for destruction with the detonation of a single bomb.
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