Atomic Anna
by Barenbaum, Rachel






"In 1986, renowned nuclear scientist Anna Berkov is sleeping in her bed in the Soviet Union when Chernobyl's reactor melts down. At that exact moment she tears through time-her first jump-and it's an accident. When she opens her eyes, she's landed in 1992 only to discover Molly, her estranged daughter, shot in the chest. Molly, with her dying breath, begs Anna to go back in time and stop the disaster, to save Molly's daughter Raisa, and put their family's future on a better path. In the '60s, Molly is coming of age as an adopted refusenik in a Russian enclave of Philadelphia. Her family is full of secrets and a past they won't share. She finds solace in comic books, drawing her own series, Atomic Anna, inspired by her birth mother, and she's determined to make it in the world as an artist. When she meets the volatile, charismatic Viktor, their romance sets her life on a very different course. In the '80s, Raisa, a math prodigy, is a lonely teenager with her mother lost to a life of drugs. She devotes herself to studying until a quiet, handsome boy moves in across the street and an odd old woman claiming to be her biological grandmother begins asking for her help. As Raisa finds new issues of Atomic Anna in unexpected places, she notices each comic challenges her to solve equations leading to one impossible conclusion: time travel. And she finally understands what she has to do. Atomic Anna is a sweeping journey across time, space, and the many forms of love. As these remarkable women take responsibility for their choices and work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they grapple with the power their discoveries hold. No one can control how knowledge is used when it's out in the world, and just because you can change the past, does it mean you should?"-





RACHEL'S second novel is ATOMIC ANNA. Her debut, A BEND IN THE STARS was named a New York Times Summer Reading Selection and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. It was also a Boston Globe Bestseller.

Rachel is a prolific writer and reviewer and her work has appeared in the LA Review of Books, the Tel Aviv Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University and a graduate of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator. She is also the founder of Debut Spotlight and the Debut Editor at A Mighty Blaze. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business and Literature and Philosophy. She lives in Brookline, MA.





Artist Molly names her superhero character Atomic Anna after her birth mother. She has picked up bits and pieces of Anna's story from her adoptive parents, Soviet refuseniks who treat Life magazine as a handbook to acting American in 1960s Philadelphia. Molly knows Anna's research was key to the development of the atomic bomb. Later she will learn about Anna's other research into riding ripples of time as her mother unexpectedly appears at different points of Molly's life, including at the hour of her death. In this inventive and extensive time-travel drama, Anna struggles between her desire to stop the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor she designed and the possibility of saving her daughter and the granddaughter she never met. From 1930s Berlin to the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Anna's quest for answers ripples through the lives of her loved ones. They push the limits of what is possible and confront the idea that although you can change the past, that doesn't necessarily mean you can fix it. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





Artist Molly names her superhero character Atomic Anna after her birth mother. She has picked up bits and pieces of Anna's story from her adoptive parents, Soviet refuseniks who treat Life magazine as a handbook to acting American in 1960s Philadelphia. Molly knows Anna's research was key to the development of the atomic bomb. Later she will learn about Anna's other research into riding ripples of time as her mother unexpectedly appears at different points of Molly's life, including at the hour of her death. In this inventive and extensive time-travel drama, Anna struggles between her desire to stop the meltdown of the Chernobyl reactor she designed and the possibility of saving her daughter and the granddaughter she never met. From 1930s Berlin to the Cold War on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Anna's quest for answers ripples through the lives of her loved ones. They push the limits of what is possible and confront the idea that although you can change the past, that doesn't necessarily mean you can fix it. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.





A Soviet scientist responsible for the Chernobyl disaster invents a time machine so she can change not only that fatal accident, but also her own destiny. Anna Berkova grew up applying her brilliant scientific and mathematical brain to questions of nuclear power. A star of the Soviet Union, she designed the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, taking care to work through numerous safety protocols. Of course, it's not enough, and when the reactor melts down on April 26, 1986, her life is only saved by an accidental jump through time. She finds herself in 1992, on top of a mountain, holding a bleeding woman who claims to be the daughter she gave away as an infant and who tells Anna she must use her time-traveling power both to stop Chernobyl and save her own granddaughter. From this striking, emotional beginning-which gives rise to a thousand questions-the novel follows three generations of Anna's family, itself jumping around in time to explore the lives of Anna, her daughter, Molly, and her granddaughter, Raisa. All three struggle to find their places in the world as talented, strong, independent women, and all three will play a pivotal role in Anna's quest to change the future-or is it the past?-not only to protect those who perish in the nuclear disaster, but to empower, and ultimately save the lives of, her family. In Barenbaum's skillful hands, a complex concept and structure work beautifully, as the novel is slowly constructed one painstakingly detailed chapter at a time. The book is an incredible achievement with a heartfelt human theme: It's never too late to let go of psychological baggage and heal past wounds. As ambitious as a Greek tragedy and just as lyrical and unflinching. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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