Fat Man and Little Boy, by Mike Meginnis

bluepigeon's review

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Fat Man and Little Boy is going on the shortlist of the best books that I have read in 2014. It is difficult to believe that the novel is Mike Meginnis' debut, for it is a rather stunning first in its language, story, and plot. I congratulated Mr. Meginnis at the publisher's table in the Brooklyn Book Festival just a few weeks ago for being the proud author of a published book, but more hearty congratulations are in order in view of the contents of his novel.

The plot of Fat Man and Little Boy is, among other things, surreal. Not that the events that take place are unbelievable, for except for the bombs being born onto Earth as human beings, most of what takes place is normal-life-like stuff that has been the subject of many works of fiction. But there is a pervasive feeling of disbelief that stems from the disbelief that such atrocities (as in so many indiscriminately obliterated into charred dust by two atom bombs) indeed took place, a feeling that thinly covers the prose as if to muffle it, as if to mute its impact, punctuated only by the uncommon moments of sharp acknowledgement of guilt and perversion and the passing of time... It is this disbelief that Meginnis weaves into every turn of event, that seeps out of every character one way or another, that in its persistence haunts the novel incessantly. The language of this disbelief is beautiful in its plainness, often striking images and invoking feelings that are in sharp contrast to the disbelief itself.

There are many stories in Fat Man and Little Boy, or many ways the story can be recounted. However they are told, they will have the words birth, death, and brother in them.

Recommended for those who like to think about existence, responsibility, childhood, belief and forgiveness.

kidneyprivilege's review

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It reminds me a lot of The Orphan Master's Son for some reason.