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.
his pockets, flicking his thumbnail, too superstitious to say anything. “We don’t want the pilot to kill himself,” someone pointed out, graciously. “Can’t he just drop the mail?” Benson asked. “No, they don’t do that here.” “He’s coming in again,” said someone else. “He’s almost got it.” This time, the soldiers waited in silence as the plane’s wings tilted up and down, faster and faster. It bucked like a paper airplane in front of a fan. The engine strained. But at the last moment it whipped
Smart?” “Yes, of course.” “Aw,” said Eddie. He hesitated. “Does Mitch know?” “Absolutely not,” Jeannie said, with a sudden coldness in her abdomen, and she put a hand there in reflex. “He never will, either,” she added. She hadn’t even meant to tell Eddie about Angela’s parentage, really, except that soon after she got pregnant back in Belvoir, Eddie had taken up with this ridiculous little daffodil in bobby socks and, in a blaze of jealousy, Jeannie staked out his house for an afternoon and
how she allowed Sam and Liddie to smear their faces with her cosmetics, their tiny eyelids heavied with blue shadow, their lips ringed like circus clowns’. “I don’t want to talk too much about it. Works me up. Plus, your girls.” He gave a nod toward the backseat, cleared his throat, and sat up straighter. “So I got my own place. I go back home every couple days to check on things, but I don’t stay long anymore. My pa’s worse with the other kids if I rile him up.” “I feel awful now,” Nat said.
standing before them, Nat had no idea what to do with herself. She hopped awkwardly forward and folded Esrom into a quick hug. Her heart pounded from this silly boldness, but he returned the hug, gingerly. “You’ve been very kind,” she said, stepping back and gently gripping his shirtsleeve. “I’m so grateful.” He nodded, looking self-conscious and pleased. “All right,” he said. She was still holding his sleeve. “I need to get in the house,” Russ keened. “You wasn’t home, or Jacob. I was just
said, lifting his hat from waist level and setting it back again. Patrice gave him a close-lipped, cautious smile, still holding her coffee cup. “Come on in!” Sam said again. “Well, I wouldn’t want to interrupt.” “You won’t,” she insisted. “I’m not having that much fun with Carol Ann.” “Sam,” cried Nat. “Yes, you are. Look at how you dressed up Liddie.” They all turned to Liddie, who was suffering a swimsuit over a poofy dress that squeezed from the swimsuit’s leg openings in tulle cascades,