Ray Foster is fascinated by light. During the war, he helps light
up the battlefield so the soldiers can see what is in front of
them. After the war, he continues to follow his amateur chemist's
investigations. He is always trying to discover new "natural"
lighting and a way to recreate it with science. When Flash, a
former war buddy, asks Ray to start a photography business with
him, Ray is in his glory.
On one of his amateur investigations of light, Ray meets a girl
named Opal. The name seems so appropriate to Ray's life obsession
with light, since an opal reflects light so wondrously and Opal,
the girl, seems the perfect match as Ray's life partner. The three
of them make the photography shop quite a success until Flash makes
a decision that significantly impacts the lives of them all.
Ray and Opal eventually end up working at Oak Ridge, Tennessee
during the time that the atomic bomb was being developed. Also
around this time, Lightfoot comes into their lives. Opal has waited
so long for a child.
The title of the book, EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN, could apply to
many things discussed in the book. It could be the origin of the
various light sources Ray found. It could be the atomic bomb
itself. It could be radiation. It could be hope. It could be love.
It could be self-knowledge. It could even be the unity of all
matter in the universe.
EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN makes you think. It makes you wonder if
this is more than just a story of three people living their
day-to-day lives. It makes you wonder what author Marianne Wiggins
is trying to tell you between the lines. After reading the book,
I'm still not sure I know precisely what the author wanted to tell
me. I do know that the book started slowly and that it was only
during the final third that I began to "get" that what she was
saying is that there is more to the story than just these people.
She was trying to tell me something about life. Unfortunately, I
still don't know exactly what that "something" is that she wanted
to convey. I guess she means that the atomic bomb is a bad thing
and that love is a good thing. I hope so because that is about the
only moral I got out of the story.
The writing was good and I did enjoy reading about the characters
after I got past the slow start. I kept waiting for more. But then
it dawned on me that real life is much like this story. We live
each day and not a lot of exciting things happen. Then one day it
is all over, your life ends. What was the point? Does every life
have a point --- yours and mine? What is it that we truly get out
of life? What do we leave behind? Perhaps this is what the author
was trying to get across --- just that we think about it.
Reviewed by Barb Wright (Reviewers International Organization) on January 21, 2011
Evidence of Things Unseen