The Longest Night: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A scintillating debut novel about a young couple whose marriage is tested when they move to an army base rife with love triangles, life-or-death conflicts, and a dramatic cover-up
In 1959, Nat Collier moves with her husband, Paul, and their two young daughters to Idaho Falls, a remote military town. An Army Specialist, Paul is stationed there to help oversee one of the country’s first nuclear reactors—an assignment that seems full of opportunity.
Then, on his rounds, Paul discovers that the reactor is compromised, placing his family and the entire community in danger. Worse, his superiors set out to cover up the problem rather than fix it. Paul can’t bring himself to tell Nat the truth, but his lies only widen a growing gulf between them.
Lonely and restless, Nat is having trouble adjusting to their new life. She struggles to fit into her role as a housewife and longs for a real friend. When she meets a rancher, Esrom, she finds herself drawn to him, comforted by his kindness and company. But as rumors spread, the secrets between Nat and Paul build and threaten to reach a breaking point.
Based on a true story of the only fatal nuclear accident to occur in America, The Longest Night is a deeply moving novel that explores the intricate makeup of a marriage, the shifting nature of trust, and the ways we try to protect the ones we love.
Praise for The Longest Night
“[A] stunning debut.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[A] smart and detailed portrait of a dissolving postwar marriage . . . will remind many readers of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Andria] Williams’s quietly confident style is without swagger or gimmick. . . . What emerges most powerfully from The Longest Night is a kind of quiet wonder at the exquisite intricacy, but astonishing durability, of familial love.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Think Army Wives meets Serial meets your perfect long weekend read. About an army base with a lot of love triangles, and a cover-up.”—theSkimm
“The tension builds heavily with each page.”—InStyle
“Scintillating . . . A smoldering, altogether impressive debut that probes the social and emotional strains on military families in a fresh and insightful way.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[A] luminous debut . . . Williams expertly builds tension between Paul and Nat as the story progresses towards the inevitable nuclear tragedy in this utterly absorbing and richly rewarding novel.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Andria Williams’s debut is an intimately detailed portrait of love, trust, and guilt in a town—and an era—clouded with secrets.”—Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
“A smart and compassionate novel that offers as many fresh insights into marriage and intimacy as it does about American nuclear history. Andria Williams is a terrific writer—clear-eyed and empathetic—and this is a fantastic debut.”—Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
“It’s hard to believe The Longest Night is Andria Williams’s debut novel. Her command of language, character and plot—the three essential ingredients for a riveting read—is extraordinary.”—David Abrams, author of Fobbit
From the Hardcover edition.
her lips and turned her furious sights on the desserts in the corner. An angel food cake sat, vacant white; she snatched a small can of blueberry pie filling, ground it open with the can opener, and slopped it into the center. A few tiny drops of blue liquid spattered onto the countertop and the bosom of her dress, but she didn’t stop: went for the next can and attacked it with the opener, pulling back only when she felt the ragged edge of the lid slice into her finger. “Oh, goddamnit,” she
ride to work with a friend.” “What friend?” he’d asked. “I don’t know, one of your coworkers.” She shrugged. “I’d love to have the car during the day.” “Really?” Paul asked, genuinely surprised. “Why would you need the car all day?” It had never occurred to him that she might want such a thing. “It would make shopping so much easier,” Nat said. “And entertaining the girls. It would make going to the pool easier…going to the…” She faltered, her face clouding as if she could feel herself losing
pushed that thing any harder,” Paul said. “What do we do if it sticks again and none of us can get it to move?” Webb looked at him uncertainly and Franks made a sound of irritation: “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” The control room was gray walled and plain, with rows of circular gauges, a roll of paper tape that ground slowly beneath its glass case, a console, and swivel chairs. At the top of one wall was an electric sign that read HIGH RADIATION, but it sat dark. In case of a
good thing, no deployment, we’d all be together. And then you go and act like a, a fool, and get yourself sent away from us. What are we supposed to do out here by ourselves for half a year? Do you know how long that is? You won’t even be here for the birth of the baby!” “I know,” he said, feeling sick. “I can’t talk right now.” She buried her face in the pillow. “I just don’t want to talk about it. I’m sorry.” “Nat!” he cried, nearly thrashing with frustration. “I leave at eight tomorrow
accelerated through the neighborhood, her heart pounding. The girls whooped and Esrom said, “Whoa there, Nellie.” “Sorry,” Nat said. For a moment her happiness was dampened. Jeannie’s expression had been critical and all-seeing. “You okay?” “That was rude of me,” she fretted. “Why didn’t I just slow down and say hi?” “I thought you two were friends.” “It’s a long story.” Nat hesitated. “I’m sorry you had to go do work for her, that day. She’s my husband’s boss’s wife. I let her push you