Nora Gallagher's elegant debut novel is a love story set in Los Alamos in 1945, in the shadow of the creation of the first atomic bomb.
During the last summer of World War II, in the beautiful high desert of New Mexico, a young painter, Eleanor Garrigue, discovers a delirious man lying by the river. She takes him in and cares for him, not knowing that he is Leo Kavan, a physicist who has fled Los Alamos after a deadly radiation accident. Eleanor herself has left New York to escape a stifling marriage and to renew her painting in the pure desert light. As the two reveal themselves to each other, their pasts and the present unfold in tandem, taking us from the heady New York art world to Einstein's Berlin, from English bomb labs to the hidden city of Los Alamos. As their enemies close in, they find temporary solace together, connected and changed in unexpected ways by the brutal radiance of the war and their fierce love.