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Poetry Women Authors

Nuclear Family

by (author) Jean Van Loon

Publisher
McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
Category
Women Authors, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780228011156
    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
    $17.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9780228013563
    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
    $17.95

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Description

In the night her whitened toes / cold sole on his calf / between his palms he warms / a slender foot – / twig bones, taut skin.

Jean Van Loon’s father was a metallurgist in an Ottawa lab that contributed to the Manhattan Project. The Geiger counter he brought home exposed her mother’s dinner plate as radioactive. Her childhood friend’s father sold cobalt bombs to the Soviet Union. Unbeknownst even to the family, her mother worked for Canada’s Cold War intelligence service.

Rooted in memory and history, Nuclear Family carries the reader into the sense of impending nuclear doom and the explosions of material wealth that shaped Van Loon’s childhood. Poems come alive with image, sound, and texture, portraying the innocence of childhood games, the worldwide effects of prolonged nuclear testing, and the long-lasting legacy of her father’s suicide – a fallout of radioactive silences.

In Nuclear Family violent events, both global and familial, permeate a girl’s coming of age in a story of cataclysm and, ultimately, recovery.

About the author

Jean Van Loon lives with her husband in a home that is an easy walk to the Ottawa River. Since retiring from a career as a public servant and head of the steel industry's national trade association, she has published poems and stories in literary magazines across Canada. When not at her desk, she often walks through the Experimental Farm, comprised in large part of farmland bought from J.R. Booth, or along the river where he got his start. Building on River is her first book-length publication.

Jean Van Loon's profile page

Other titles by Jean Van Loon