So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shadow On The Hearth by Judith Merril

A typical day in a Westchester suburb of New York for a family of four is shattered by a nuclear attack on New York City. Gladys is in the basement doing her laundry, her two daughters, Barbara and Ginny are at school, and her husband Jon has taken the train to Manhattan to his job when the bombs start to fall.

The following week's events are viewed from Gladys' viewpoint as she takes in the children's teacher, a discredited nuclear scientist critical of atomic bombs, and hides him and her Slavic maid Veda from the Civil Defense patrols who might see them as enemy spies or saboteurs.

Written in 1950 this is an early science fiction look at the after effects of a nuclear war. It was adapted the same year with a less provocative script as the television drama Atomic Attack, which was the television debut for Walter Matthau as the young doctor.

Judith Merril does a very good job or of presenting Gladys as the US stay-at-home mom of the post-WWII years facing a world turned upside down. I enjoyed reading the book and recommend it.