The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel
Meridian Wallace is seventeen when she leaves her home and goes to the University of Chicago to study ornithology. It is there, in 1941, she meets physics professor Alden Whetstone, who challenges her mind and appreciates her intellect, unlike the boys she meets in her classes. She falls in love and, when he takes a job in Los Alamos, New Mexico, she marries him and delays graduate school to follow him there. As with many women of the time, Meri ends up giving up her dreams for her husband’s. As time goes on, she returns to her study of birds, albeit on her own without the support of anyone, and it is during her studies in a desert canyon, she meets Clay, a survivor of the war in Vietnam. That is when life becomes very complicated — for Meridian, for Alden, and for Clay.
Debut author Elizabeth J. Church writes of timeless topics in a setting which everything is structured by the period she writes in. The characters are achingly real and the complications they face are completely relatable. The writing is simply gorgeous. This story has legs and deserves a very wide readership.
Elizabeth J. Church