Fat Man and Little Boy

Fat Man and Little Boy Mike Meginnis Is My Favorite Kind Of Writer Extraordinarily Inventive, Formally Curious, Profoundly Moving And His Fat Man And Little Boy Is A Debut Of Impressive Ambition, A Reinvention Of The Historical Novel, An Existential Thriller Powered By The Booming Engines Of History, The Atom, The Human Heart Matt Bell, Author Of In The House Upon The Dirt Between The Lake And The Woods In Fat Man And Little Boy, Mike Meginnis Takes The Mother Of All Atrocities And Makes It Strange, Sizable, Turns It So Sideways That We Re Forced To Notice, To Take Heed This Alone Is An Achievement, But It S The Way He Does It That Dazzles With Gorgeous, Careful Prose That Gives Us Human Failings And A Desperate Longing For Connection So Vividly Rendered That We Have No Choice But Drink It In, To Reckon Once Again With This Disaster In Our Own Time And Way Amber Sparks, Author Of The Desert Places And May We Shed These Human Bodies Fat Man And Little Boy Doesn T At All Feel Like A Debut Novel Mike Meginnis Writes Like An Old Pro, Entirely In Control And In Charge Of This Strange And Haunted World His Prose Is Tight As Hell, Yet Powerful, Poignant And Poetic Robert Lopez, Author Of Asunder And Kamby Bolongo Mean River Two Bombs Over Japan Two Shells One Called Little Boy, One Called Fat Man Three Days Apart The One Implicit In The Other BrothersIn This Remarkable 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

Mike Meginnis has published stories in Best American Short Stories 2012, The Collagist, PANK, and many others He contributes regularly to HTML Giant and Kill Screen, and plays collaborative text adventures at exitsare.com He earned his MFA at New Mexico State University, where he served as a managing editor of Puerto del Sol for two years He coedits Uncanny Valley Press with his wife, Tracy Rae

❰Reading❯ ➾ Fat Man and Little Boy  Author Mike Meginnis – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Fat Man and Little Boy
  • Mike Meginnis
  • 14 August 2019

10 thoughts on “Fat Man and Little Boy

  1. says:

    There are a hundred ways to make a man into a bomb But can a bomb become a person I really loved this book I received it as a first reads giveaway and am providing an honest review I read it in small pieces, a chapter or two each night Each chapter was a gem I saw that some people consider this book to be magical realism, but I don t think that s the right term for it Magical realism is about the blurring of the line between imagination and reality and argues that what we imagine is just as real as anything else In most MR books, though, there is someone doing the imagining FMLB is much existential If we really need to categorize this book, let s call it an allegory Fat Man and Little Boy are the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in this story they take on lives of their own They become people, brothers, who must make their way out of the wreckage of Japan and into the further consequences of their creation All of us live with the consequences of having been made, and none of us had any choice in the matter The fathers of these bombs gave them human names, if impersonal ones Language is funny this way We can t help but picture things that are named If the universal pronoun is he, then those who read he on the page will picture someone male, or at least will fail to picture someone female, x ing half the race out of the universal A little boy is different from a fat man Already the bombs are assigned personas Little boy remains stunted, unable to grow He is everyone s little brother, even though he is the firstborn For a long time he is unable to speak After all, having vaporized 100,000 people is a huge burden for a little boy Little Boy was a one off, a projectile driven explosion He ll never get an erection Fat Man never stops expanding Yet, people are drawn to him, they even fall in love with him Fat Man was an implosion bomb His energy is inward He grows by swallowing He is the prototype for all the subsequent bombs Though Fat Man is nice He means well He has an American Innocence about him Where Little Boy is the American ostrich, the one who doesn t want to know, who just wants to remain little, Fat Man is the friendly, curious, adaptive American, the one who looks but doesn t change Who thinks or at least hopes that Good Works and Good Intentions can undo many crimes.Fat Man feels deeply He s moved by the memorabilia found in the hotel he helps build on the site of a German concentration camp in France This may be the worst thing that ever happened, he says of the Holocaust to Little Boy, a comment worth pondering Was it In terms of what, numbers Stalin killed The singling out of an ethnic religious group though the Germans had it in for the Slavs too, and were already well on their way to eliminating the Roma in fact they took , percentage wise, of the Roma than of the Jews, and for some reason having nothing to do with eugenics, Jehovah s Witnesses Or was this what Fat Man needed to tell himself, what Americans need to tell themselves, about his existence That the bombs are not the worst thing It s not clear, nor does it need to be It s enough to have these two holocausts in contact with one another on the page And note the hotel, built by an American, on the site of a concentration camp Happy face American Innocence again as an aside, in The People of the Lie, M Scott Peck discusses a family that does great evil to one of its children without any apparent awareness of what it s doing I bring this up only because Peck s argument, which resonates with me, applies, I feel, to American Innocence in general that evil done unconsciously may be the greatest of all As the brothers move from Japan and through France, they infect everything they touch with mold and spores Without touching women, they impregnate them at first this seems odd How can the agents of such destruction be so generative But their creative energy is warped They spew decay The children, at first, are born disfigured, unfinished, tumor laced Finally, a Japanese mystic explains The spores, the babies all attempts by the souls lost in the explosion to reincarnate They were ripped too suddenly from their lives and they re fighting for a way back in That would be karma for you.And of course, as Fat Man and Little Boy now called John and Matthew, both names that translate roughly as gift from God settle into their lives in France, the nuclear arsenals are multiplying worldwide Their family is growing The corruption is spreading Meanwhile, the human these bombs become, the they are integrated into our lives, the they are accepted And the the thousands of lost souls accept their fate The used to themselves the bombs become People come from all over the world to conceive children at this hotel on the site of a concentration camp But now they are born in a natural way The babies are healthy All along Fat Man and Little Boy have been trying very hard not to explode again Then the brothers take a trip to America.I had a couple of nits didn t like how the author would sometimes refer to John and Matthew as the brother bombs, instead of just sticking with the conceit of brothers Also, it took them entirely too long to figure out how to bathe I couldn t believe that people women, in France would invite them into their homes in the described at length filth in which they first appeared I suppose this might be a metaphor for how easily we DO accept what s filthy into our lives, but if so it needed something else to make me understand how easily they were accepted into society invited into homes, hired at restaurants, with very little recoil from other people Nevertheless, a good part of the story is the journey from corruption and into mainstream, which of course is the story of the bombs Something that was unmitigatedly bad became complex and sometimes useful, if not good For that reason, the grotesquerie of the first half of the book is important, if challenging to some readers, and then the long period of well being is all the horrifying.Which brings me to my only substantive criticism of the book The long period in France did seem a to lag a bit Almost as if the author, as well as his characters, were afraid to face the music Or, in this case, the movie Because to reckon with America, and to what it s made of the bombs, you have to reckon with Hollywood, no Which is what does happen in the book, eventually There s nothing wrong with the basic arc, but I thought the time spent on the middle vs the ending sections was a possibly a little disproportionate I also wasn t sure why France vs, say Russia, or otherwise tracking the adoption of nuclear weapons technology around the world , except that perhaps France is the nation that s grown most comfortable with nukes Or else it has something to do with existentialism, not sure It does seem significant that the brothers fatten or at least grow comfortable in a Western country, far from the ruin they ve wreaked I thought there might be tension in having these personified bombs encounter the paradoxes of post bomb American culture earlier and at length This happens to some extent, but I thought there might have been opportunities I wondered if the author held back a bit so as not to become too heavy handed with the allegory Perhaps the strengths and limitations of allegory both served and disserved the story I only know that I chafed a bit when we wandered deeply into the brothers lives, and perked up when there seemed to be that was being said about history and culture and society But I was entranced by this book, chapter by chapter It s a fresh look at ourselves And the writing is gorgeous, too I found myself, like many of the people in the book itself, wanting the best for these two lost souls Some samples Keep in mind that we re talking about nuclear bombs Read a few of these and you ll probably see why I gave this book 5 stars He remembers the mother squatting on the toilet as her daughter squats now in what is like their living room He remembers the frenzy of the pigs, their midnight meal, a feast of night soil It all must be connected but the only connection he can find is that he saw all these things The baby rolls like an empty jar Little Boy knows what it s like to explode It s like this Fat Man knows that he is screaming, has known from the start He means to continue What he means is that he only knows a little Japanese What he means is that it was no use What he means is he rejects the language He rejects the country He rejects the evidence case and everything within, not because it s wrong but because it s not enough The soon to be hotelier to the Japanese medium is it your experience that the dead are, on the whole, wise than the living Not at all, says the medium.The medium to her audience Women, guard your wombs This man and this boy are haunted, haunted by tens of thousands They killed them all, ladies Now these people and children follow them wherever they go, jostling for a chance to be born again near them, whether as infants or livestock or rot Do you want a ghost in your belly He fills his glass The water smells a little strange out here, he s noticed Water s different everywhere, and no one wants to talk about it She s always been pretty, just as her mother was always pretty, and they discussed in hushed, secret tones the horror and the tragedy of life as an Ugly Person Everyone is beautiful inside, said her mother, but most people don t take the time or trouble to find out I would hate to be the sort of person you had to know to love On the names they ve acquired, John and Matthew Why oh why did I name myself John What s wrong with John says Little Boy John means Yahweh is gracious, says Fat Man I don t see what s wrong with that What does mine mean Fat Man flips to the M s It means Gift of Yahweh Ugh Yours is even worse They re like the same thing Yours states specifically that you were given to the world by God, but does not specify a reason or an end It s the worst thing you could be called Fat Man cannot explainwhy he didn t tell about the gun there was guilt in being on the wrong end of a weapon Widows ought to get for what we give up, says Rosie If he d have lived after he hung from his parachute in the that tree if they d shot him just enough times that he could still be saved they would have had to spend probably thousands patching him up, keeping him in the hospital, attaching prosthesis Then training him in the use of his new hands They re lucky he died They only have to pay me my allowance They re better off if the wounded soldiers die That s called a perverse incentive The medium who is also a failed kamikaze pilot Firebombing held no mystery for him It was a stupid way to kill another person No risk, no romance, only a city become an oven And the sun rises yellow, and the sky is clear The grass tilts in the breeze, and people forget the war, or they remember everything else He was my soul mate It didn t make me happy I ve told you how I begged him not to go to war I ve told you how, when I heard that he was dead, I was as relieved as I was miserable Sometimes the perfect thing is the wrong thing But do I make you happy You don t make me happy, says Rosie Nobody makes anybody happy That s not how it works What makes people happy then Nothing does They feel about the same from the beginning to the end, regardless of what happens to them and who they meet We cause only little fluctuations in each other, I think I have always been mostly unhappy and afraid Sometimes you give me happy fluctuations Sometimes sad ones I m grateful for both.

  2. says:

    I won this in a First Reads Giveaway Thank You Oh yes, this was the novel that took me way too long to finish, longer than any book below 600 pages I shouldn t be ashamed of it, but this is usually the type of book that I would devour in two weeks Those who are college students, readers, and bloggers, you would probably know that those gaps of silence are usually because it s a rough semester This was a rough novel, with tiny patches of softness, little dots of hope in the middle of something wide and hard, something dark and dreary Now that metaphor crap is out of the way, lets put a synopsis If I try to write it on my own, it would be a disaster.Two bombs over Japan Two shells One called Little Boy, one called Fat Man Three days apart The one implicit in the other Brothers.As you can already tell, this is going to be one weird trip, it takes place in a world that seems to be so off kilter in its sanity Nobody seems to know why these guys exist and why they have all these weird quirks, such as not having real names and just acting plain weird, somewhat socially awkward Fat Man is morbidly obese, Little Boy is forever a little boy When people question, they never push any further, quickly accepting these two odd balls for what they are.Here s a funny story, during a break between classes, I was playing cards with some friends of my brother s and one of them found the book interesting I told them the little summary that you see in italics above The reaction was basically Wow that s so cool and weird One of them said something that was basically along the lines of something like, I don t remember to be honest, but the reaction was basically something like So that s why they couldn t find the bomb, or That s why nobody could see them Yeah, this funny story was a sham, but I do remember saying in the back of my mind, Dude, it exploded into flames and ashes and smoke What are you going to find other than destruction Then I realized that most people seem to make a lot of fun about this tragedy in war People say they deserved it while playing a Nintendo 3DS and flipping Yu Gi Oh cards around, and watching anime This wasn t an easy novel to read, I read a chapter a day, sometimes a bit , but I had to push myself, despite that I was fond of the novel There were times where it wore me out and began to feel too heavy of a book, despite that it is less than 400 pages There are a variety of reasons, which are college stress due to my lack of coping with stress, my constant reading of e books over the summer which has caused me to become so adapted to it that reading physical books has become a rather heavy thing for me, and I just took too long with it I am an impatient reader, I like slow books that take in the details, let things unravel Let the character walk down the road and find shards of itself, let the world unfold itself But I read slow, which is my fault, not always the book s fault The whole design of this novel is freaking awesome The red and blue explosion looking graphic, the Fat Man and Little Boy in this white impact lettering Then in the inside flaps, there is the Japanese letter for remains The funny thing is, when I first discovered Black Balloon Publishing, Fat Man and Little Boy was actually the first novel that attracted my attention But this novel sort of became my little friend for the first two months of Fall semester With it s delicate prose, speaking of guilt and a sort of miserable existentialism created by war These two walk around on the Earth, knowing that they had committed the ultimate atrocity, and apparently the souls of all who had died are haunting them everywhere they go So it s sort of a metaphor of guilt, how your murders, your crimes will never leave, or history itself, since the bombs did change history, it forever haunts them Then there s the people that fate somehow connects them together From the widow to the medium, two police officers accusing Fat Man of murder anybody who has somehow been affected by the war or the bomb have somehow ended being connected to them, haunting them in a sense Despite that this novel isn t that long, there is so much to think about, to write about in this post But I feel like it will go on too long, It has been awhile since I read the book, maybe a week or two, and my thoughts of it are floating around and they are hard to snatch It will become a mountain of rambles for Fat Man to eat if he wants It will taste quite bland.One thing I will say for sure, Fat Man and Little Boy is a human in paper form that has somehow figured out the world s pain and the inhabitants eternal loneliness This novel is written in short chapters that feel like small little entries, little snippets of the duo s short life I would read one or two each day and then set it aside for awhile, and come back This novel is bleak, any war novel is bleak Fat Man and Little Boy regret their ability to explode, suffering from watching them and absorbing the suffering from the suffering they committed Despite the darkness, these guys are quite loveable Fat Man, at first, is childlike and innocent, he is overweight and food is always the top priority Apparently he is the little brother, but due to his looks and strength, he takes the role of big brother Little Boy is the older one, with a mature mind and personality, most of the time, but he is the smaller one, and he can get away with childlike behavior, due to his short stature and doe eyed look They are odd looking and they know that they are odd and they do everything to blend into mankind Because unlike most of mankind, they were born from disaster, not human nature They grow, despite already being grown, and they develop into these beings that can sort of hide this eternal guilt behind somewhere in the back of their skulls and into their shadows maybe, that seems to apparently be followed by whoever haunts them.Then there s the medium or Masumi What I found that was so cool about this character is that he is a performer with two different identities, one who has a psychic ability that can see the dead and the other is just a drunk man He s probably my favorite other than the main two He is this flawed, self destructive, tragic character, and for some odd reason I ve always tended to like those type of characters There s just something that hits a chord with them I am not a drunk man or a psychic,and I m too young to drink, but this vengeful and beautiful character was just so bad ass and at the same time, you kind of want to join him and comfort him somehow, or just wallow in the misery with him.Then there s a pair of twins that I can t remember the name of Oh dear I m going to go look The Hanway brothers These two guys don t regret exploding at all What sick dudes They didn t hurt anybody, but stillThe characters in this book is what makes it alive With its poetic and minamalistic prose, written in way that is like poetry, with short sentences forming a sort of pentameter A rhythm something like a quiet, ambient, minamalistic song It s hard to describe actually, I usually describe prose like this as airy, simple, but it s simplicity brings out the beauty in it s characters and it s imagery of death and life s little gifts This book is probably one of the most self loathing yet touching novels I have read so far this year It s so cynical but yet, with its magical realism, it brings in a sort of hope that shines a bit of light, despite all of the dust of remains, of humans who once were, destroyed by humanity s animalistic actions So I usually don t do this in my posts but here s my check list of things I liked about this novel 1 Short chapters check 2 Nice prose that feels like poetry check 3 Wonderfully quirky characters that you love and feel connected to check 4 Beautiful fantasy magical realist stuff check 5 Historical fiction check 6 Emotionally engaging check 7 The book was left to cook a bit in my brain.Now that I thought about it while writing this, I ended liking the book even This happened to me when I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro check Rating 4.5 5

  3. says:

    I struggled to assign meanings to characters and events in Fat Man and Little Boy, all the while aware that attempting to do so was wrong headed and futile Little Boy and Fat Man, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs, born as human brothers at the moment of their detonations, three days apart Sure Extinguished Japanese souls attempting to be reborn, literally under the brothers feet Okay But what am I to make of the policemen, the short and the tall one What do they represent And for that matter why France, why Masumi, why Rosie and Magnolia and Able and Baker What if this were a straight novel about odd, parentless, horribly filthy brothers who move from wartime Japan to post war France, find a family and gradually become functioning humans, then take a short vacation in Hollywood It wouldn t pass muster It wouldn t be interesting It wouldn t justify its own existence The conceit of atomic bombs exploding and being born as human brothers is what makes this novel worth reading But where is Meginnis going with this conceit Questions upon questions Fat Man lives with guilt, but why doesn t Little Boy Or are Little Boy s physical failings the manifestation of guilt The profuse life Fat Man and Little Boy spread about them is at first deformed and unviable, paralleling the longer term effects of radiation in the survivors of the bombings and following generations But why then, over time, do Fat Man and Little Boy s progeny become normal Today, many consider the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities a criminal act, but it was hardly considered so in 1945 or for many years afterward it ended a horrific war that would have gone on to kill even people than if the bombs not been used Is that the meaning of the healthy, well adjusted, celebrity actors Able and Baker Are the former Vichy French Jewish internment camp and the frequent mentions of Marshal P tain meant to force a comparison between the atomic bombing of two Japanese cities with the deliberate conduct of genocide by the Nazis and their puppet states But I babble I ve finished a book with questions than I had when I started it I could say the central conceit of the book doesn t hold together, leaving readers frustrated and adrift I could say the book is poetry than novel, beautifully crafted despite its ambiguities, forcing readers to think and wonder I choose the latter.

  4. says:

    Fat Man and Little Boy is going on the shortlist of the best books that I have read in 2014 It is difficult to believe that the novel is Mike Meginnis debut, for it is a rather stunning first in its language, story, and plot I congratulated Mr Meginnis at the publisher s table in the Brooklyn Book Festival just a few weeks ago for being the proud author of a published book, but hearty congratulations are in order in view of the contents of his novel.The plot of Fat Man and Little Boy is, among other things, surreal Not that the events that take place are unbelievable, for except for the bombs being born onto Earth as human beings, most of what takes place is normal life like stuff that has been the subject of many works of fiction But there is a pervasive feeling of disbelief that stems from the disbelief that such atrocities as in so many indiscriminately obliterated into charred dust by two atom bombs indeed took place, a feeling that thinly covers the prose as if to muffle it, as if to mute its impact, punctuated only by the uncommon moments of sharp acknowledgement of guilt and perversion and the passing of time It is this disbelief that Meginnis weaves into every turn of event, that seeps out of every character one way or another, that in its persistence haunts the novel incessantly The language of this disbelief is beautiful in its plainness, often striking images and invoking feelings that are in sharp contrast to the disbelief itself.There are many stories in Fat Man and Little Boy, or many ways the story can be recounted However they are told, they will have the words birth, death, and brother in them Recommended for those who like to think about existence, responsibility, childhood, belief and forgiveness.

  5. says:

    Truly unique in it s story line, Fat Man And Little Boy takes a subject that we all know something about and turns it into that just history, it makes it relatable on a human level, letting the reader inside the minds and feelings of the two humanized brother bombs.The two atom bombs dropped on Japan become born into human for upon their landing They are transformed into exactly what they sound like a fat man and a little boy The two brothers know who they are, how they were made, and most importantly what they ve done As they travel together they are forced to witness the aftermath caused by their birth and the repercussions it s had on the Japanese people Poignant and at times incredibly graphic some of it was a little much for me However, that s what makes a good read in my opinion This story really stirred me and I ll absolutely be recommending it in the future.

  6. says:

    This was an incredibly imaginative novel The two brother bombs try to live in the world after their explosions This alternate world not so far from reality that we forget the sadness, anxiety, devastation of war is intriguing I was captivated throughout.This was a Goodreads First Reads.

  7. says:

    Definitely one of the interesting and unique books I ve ever read It s hard for me to describe how I feel about this book.just read it If you like magical paranormal Maybe this fits mixed with realism, read it.

  8. says:

    Take a step into history and never forget, lest we do something like ths again extraordinary journey to the past and how our world changed,

  9. says:

    interesting premise but didn t do enough with it I gave up after 100 pages

  10. says:

    Imagine that each of the two atomic bombs the U.S dropped on Japan during World War II begat a human being or a being near human upon impact That s the premise behind Mike Meginnis s Fat Man and Little Boy Yes, Fat Man he changes his name to John is fat and, yes, Little Boy later Matthew is little In an ironic touch, however, Little Boy is the big brother, born three days before Fat Man.Fat Man and Little Boy travel, first across Japan, later about the world, trying to figure out who they are Each remembers coming into being during an explosion, but has very little sense of self beyond that Strange things happen where they travel women and animals conceive and give birth in a matter of weeks, sometimes to healthy offspring, sometimes to deformed or incomplete creatures strange molds grow at an unnatural rate wherever they are.This concept is brilliant, but I enjoyed the book less than I thought I would The prose is crisp, but I found I couldn t stay engaged enough with these two central characters for the full 400 pages.I ll acknowledge that I ve never been much for science fiction which is or less that category Fat Man and Little Boy falls under , so that may explain my lukewarm response The book has gotten excellent reviews on GoodReads, so clearly there is a readership out there who can appreciate it If you like science fiction or if you enjoy reading extended parables of a sort, you may want to check this book out for yourself.

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