Evidence of Things Unseen

Written by Marianne Wiggins
Review by Claire Morris

For an example of how to take unremarkable people and turn their story into something worth writing about, read Evidence of Things Unseen. The author focuses on an average man, Fos, and an average woman, Opal, and shows their progress through life. From Fos’s days in WWI trenches, and Opal’s time as a bookkeeper caring for her glassblower father, to their photography business, life on a farm and work in Tennessee’s Oakridge as the U.S. government built the A-Bomb, we follow this couple through hardship, disappointments, and tragedy. We share their aspirations, and sense their love for each other. It is this love that drives the action forward. It is a love so enduring it affects all who come in contact with it.

Some readers may find this novel’s form less than friendly (no quotation marks, long chapters without sub-sections). They may also not appreciate the frequent references to Moby Dick, as the white whale symbolism is perhaps spelled out a little too explicitly. But the prose used in this novel is magnetic and compelling, and the era is intricately portrayed. A laudable exploration of love, history and the parts we play (or fail to play) as we live out our lives.