Evidence of Things Unseen
Simon & Schuster, 2003; 400 pages.
This novel was a SHOCK to me. A shock because I had never heard a word about it and frankly didn’t expect it to be very good. I have a bad habit that way, maintaining low expectations for novels that I haven’t heard about. Evidence of Things Unseen is an excellent reminder to myself to not be so pre-judgmental about unknown books. Because this book was amazing.
I wouldn’t have changed a single character, a single line in this entire novel. The writing is exquisitely beautiful and simple and the story is unlike anything that I have read this past year. Marianne Wiggins tells us the story of Fos, recently returned to Tennessee from the trenches of France. Fos is fascinated with X-rays, electricity, and bioluminescence. On a trip to the North Carolina coast to study a meteor shower, he meets and falls in love with Opal. Their romance and the trajectory of their life together form the structure of this gorgeous, poetic novel.
I could tell you all of the details of the story, the small flights of the plot, but such a recounting would cheapen the beauty of this book. At its heart, Evidence of Things Unseen is a love story: love between a man and a woman, between people and scientific “progress,” between parents and their child. I just don’t even know what to say about it, except that it is beautifully and perfectly written and I am grateful for it.