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Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Tag

As the Crows Fly   Leave a comment

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The Atomic Weight of Love begs the question: how heavy is love? Elizabeth J.Church’s novel has war as its bookends: World War II and Vietnam. The passage of time reflects changes in attitudes toward conflict and women.

Meridian Wallace is a brilliant, young student interested in pursuing not only a college education, but an advanced degree in ornithology. This is unusual in 1940s Chicago. While at university she meets and falls in love with professor Alden Whetstone, who is secretly involved with the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M. Although he can’t reveal his research, he convinces Meridian to postpone her studies, move across the country and marry him. There will be plenty of time later to pick up where she left off academically. Ha!

Alden’s commitment to his work and the slow disintegration of a loving relationship could seem a cliché. Yet, Meridian manages to flourish even when the attitudes of the day bear down on her. On her own, she continues to study birds without the benefit of academic resources, she makes a few friends despite being ostracized for not having a doctoral degree like most of the wives in her community. Although they are well-educated they do nothing with their education.

Meridian falls in love with a much younger man but maintains the façade of her marriage with Alden, who becomes increasingly narrow-minded and unlikable as the novel progresses.

The author is masterful in the transformation she ascribes to Meridian and the world around her.

The Atomic Weight of Love
Five Bookmarks
Algonquin Books, 2016
352 pages

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At Home in The Range   2 comments

We discovered The Range Café in Bernalillo years ago when we used travel to New Mexico for soccer tournaments. Bernalillo is home to the original Range, but there are two other locations down the highway in Albuquerque. We try to time our travel so we can stop for a meal: usually breakfast or lunch. Recently, we arrived for a late lunch on a weekend afternoon. The restaurant is cavernous, albeit festive; nonetheless, we were in for a 10 to 15 minute wait unless we sat at the bar, which we did.

Colorful, original art and Western décor adorn the walls, as do numerous references to ranges. Not a range as in open prairie, but as in stove. This makes sense, because there is plenty of good cooking going on.

The emphasis is on comfort food: meat loaf, mac and cheese, sandwiches, salads and a standard selection of Mexican dishes. I knew we still had more than five hours left in our drive home, so I didn’t want to overeat. I ordered the Veggie Sandwich with slabs of mozzarella, tomatoes, grilled zucchini, thinly fried onions all pressed between a sliced baguette lathered with pesto aioli! This was a garden on bread. The only disappointment was the tomato which lacked that fresh taste of summer. Although other sides are available, I swear when I ordered I only saw sweet potato fries listed, nothing else was on the page.

I ate only half my lunch and still slept afterward – fortunately, my husband was driving.

The Range Café
Four Plates
925 Camino Del Pueblo
Bernalillo, N.M.