BookBrowse Reviews Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris

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Lucky Strike

by Nancy Zafris

Lucky Strike by Nancy Zafris
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 336 pages

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The Great Uranium Rush of the 1950s. Novel

From the book jacket: Nancy Zafris follows a colorful cast of characters into uncharted fictional territory, this time landing in the canyon country of the desert Southwest in 1954. For motivations as straightforward as striking it rich to reasons far more complex and confounding, they each embark on very personal divergent journeys across an unforgiving countryside, even while their quest to find uranium unites them. By turns meditative and funny, frightening, witty and refreshingly wise, Lucky Strike explores the ways that language simply put can mine the inexpressible. In the process, a young widow and her two children learn much about uranium but even more about the nature of the love that binds them. This is a story to touch your heart.

Comment: Young widow Jean Waterman is determined to give her seriously ill 10-year-old son, Charlie, and her 12-year-old daughter, Beth, a summer to remember. So they head to the Utah desert where uranium fever is at its height - here they meet a range of quirky characters all united by their obsession to discover the uranium mother-lode that will make them rich.  Zafris revels in quirky characters and unfamiliar places - her earlier book, The Metal Shredders was about a bunch of scrap-metal workers in Ohio, while Lucky Strike revolves around a diverse group of uranium prospectors in the middle of the Utah desert.  This is a bitter-sweet novel, contrasting upbeat dialogue with Charlie's illness, overshadowed by the effects of uranimum poisoning (which was unknown to the general public at the time).

In this lovely book, Zafris finds power in the slow, mute strangeness of everyday anxiety, the blossoming of hope in a barren desert and the terrible irony of what uranium means to those who seek it.'
- Publishers Weekly.

This review is from the May 22, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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