Tuesday, October 19, 2021


Author Bobbie Ann Mason creates an 'Atomic Romance'

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Author Bobbie Ann Mason is out with a new novel, her first in a decade, called "An Atomic Romance." (MPR Photo/Mike Edgerly)

St. Paul, Minn. — To her readers, Bobbie Ann Mason's new novel will be both a return to familiar country and a departure from her earlier books.

Mason is considered one of the country's leading fiction writers. She is writer-in-residence at the University of Kentucky, and has written much about the working-class people of western Kentucky in her previous books, like "In Country," and her award-winning collection of short stories, "Shiloh and Other Stories."

Mason's new book, "An Atomic Romance," is set somewhere in the heart of America, against the backdrop of the Cold War and the nuclear industry.

The novel's romance is between Reed, a nuclear plant engineer, and his on-again, off-again lover, Julia, an aspiring research biologist. Reed's work may have left him contaminated by the materials he works with. Julia wants to save the world from disease.

"An Atomic Romance," Mason's first novel in more than 10 years, is both a political work and a love story. She talked about the book with MPR's Mike Edgerly. To listen to their interview, choose the audio link in the right column.