BookBrowse Reviews Yellowcake by Ann Cummins

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Yellowcake

A Novel

By Ann Cummins

Yellowcake
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Mar 2007,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2008,
    320 pages.

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Cummins brilliantly conflates the insidious damage wrought by radiation sickness with the maladies of the soul caused by prejudice, poverty, nature's abuse, and love's betrayal

The setting is the American Southwest in the area known as the Four Corners (where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet). The year is 1991; it's been at least twenty years since most of the uranium mines and mills on the Colorado Plateau closed, taking with them employment for both local "Anglos" and Navajos, but the effects of the industry are still being felt - physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Ryland Mahoney, a former foreman at the uranium mine, is now dependent on an oxygen tank, and worries that he won't be strong enough to give away his daughter at her impending wedding, but he refuses to connect his former employment with his current health. Woody Atcitty, a Navajo, is seriously ill with cancer, and Woody's daughter and ...

Ann Cummins is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and University of Arizona writing programs, and the author of the short story collection Red Ant House, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and Best Book of the Year. She has had her stories published in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Quarterly West, and the Sonora Review, among other publications, as well as The Best American Short Stories 2002. She divides her time between Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, and Flagstaff, Arizona, where she teaches creative writing at Northern Arizona University.

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