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Article

Yellowcake

Posted on

Yellowcake

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Ann Cummins
publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
genre:
Fiction

We gave it a B

New Mexico, 1991: Yellowcake, the uranium extract used to make nuclear fuel, has brought a toxic legacy of illness to retired factory workers in Ann Cummins’ flawed but affecting novel. This is no antinuke broadside, but a tangled family saga pitting the Anglo clan of ailing ex — mill boss Ryland Mahoney against Navajo banker Becky Atcitty and her free-spirited aunt Alice, mistress of Ryland’s best friend. As they grapple with mortality and family and tribal loyalties, Cummins at times struggles to hold plot strands together. Yet her layered characters, terse prose, and spare imagery linger like a ride on a winding desert highway. B

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