TRINITY FIELDS by Bradford Morrow


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 Morrow (The Almanac Branch, 1991, etc.) situates a fragile story of friendship within an imposing political conflict to create a classic American tale of epic proportions. Narrator Brice and his best friend, Kip, grow up in Los Alamos, New Mexico; their fathers are brilliant engineers recruited by the government to develop the hydrogen bomb. (The novel's title comes from Robert Oppenheimer's name for the first nuclear test.) Los Alamos is a utopian community, free from crime, unemployment, even taxes, offering the kind of security that allows a lasting bond to develop between Brice and Kip. Too young to understand exactly what kind of dangerous work is done there, they are sensitive enough to feel the need to create games that match the perils their fathers are ``courting day and night in their labs.'' Now 50, Brice recalls his youth in delicious detail: risky games played with shotguns (Kip always proves more courageous); an ill-fated attempt to run away during high-school that causes Kip to call the frightened Brice a traitor; reconciliation and the decision to attend Columbia together; then a painful estrangement as Brice's antiwar activism conflicts with Kip's unlikely decision to serve. Kip leaves behind a fiancÇe, Jessica, and becomes a member of the elite, covert corps known as Ravens. When the news of Jessica's pregnancy reaches him, he tries to return to civilian life, but Jessica and Brice have already settled into a sort-of married life; Kip disappears back into the forests of Vietnam, leaving Brice to develop free from the shadow of his buddy cum nemesis. But when Kip makes an appearance 20 years later, all Brice's hard-won confidence is tested. Morrow's poetic prose, the stark emotions it reveals, and the effortless interweaving of personal and political themes give his novel a simple grandeur. (35,000 first printing; author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-670-85728-9
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1994


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