Two bombs over Japan. Two shells. One called Little Boy, one called Fat Man. Three days apart. The one implicit in the other. Brothers.
Named one of Flavorwire's best independent books of 2014, and winner of the 2013 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize.
In this striking debut novel, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan are personified as Fat Man and Little Boy. This small measure of humanity is a cruelty the bombs must suffer. Given life from death, the brothers' journey is one of surreal and unsettling discovery, transforming these symbols of mass destruction into beacons of longing and hope.
"Impressive. . . The novel straddles a hybrid genre of historical magical realism." —The Japan Times
"Meginnis's talent is his ability to make the reader feel empathy for souls who killed so many. . . Many pages in this novel feel like engravings . . . Meginnis has written one of the best, most natural novels about the atomic bombs." —Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
"[An] imaginative debut. . . Meginnis' story is both surprising and incisive." —Publishers Weekly
This imaginative debut novel from Meginnis, the 2013 winner of the first Horatio Nelson Prize for Fiction, tells the story of anthropomorphic brother bombs that were "born" from the blasts of the atomic bombs Fat Man and Little Boy, which were dropped on Japan in August 1945. Fat Man resembles a "shaved bear," while his brother, Little Boy, who is older by three days, appears "pale and pink." While the two brothers (American like the bomb they were born from), search for food and money, they plot to leave hostile postwar Japan for France, and adopt the aliases John and Matthew for their forged passports. Their snappy dialogue, including their arguments over which brother should be in charge, is often funny. Once they arrive in France, the brothers take menial jobs working in a restaurant until they run afoul of the police due to their lustful misdeeds. They meet Rosie Cummings, who runs a hotel in southern France, and she hires the brothers to come work for her. Over time, Fat Man grows larger, decides to marry Rosie, and they have a daughter, Maggie, whom Little Boy adores. By 1956, with their shady past catching up to them, Fat Man and Little Boy relocate with their family to the U.S., and ultimately end up in Hollywood. Meginnis's story is both surprising and incisive.