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Emiko Amai is six years old in August 1945 when the Hiroshima bomb burns away half of her face. To Anton, a young German physicist involved in the Manhattan Project, that same bomb represents the pinnacle of scientific elegance. And for his Austrian wife Sophie, a Jewish refugee, it marks the start of an irreparable fissure in their new marriage.
Fifty years later, seemingly far removed from the day that defined their lives, Emiko visits Anton and Sophie, and in Dennis Bock’s powerfully imagined narrative, their histories converge.
"Dennis Bock's searching, ambitious first novel tells the intertwining stories of two people from opposite sides of the world who have spent their lives learning to live with the bomb [and] quickly hardens into a crystalline meditation on the defining event of the 20th century and its aftermath... Inventive [and] consistently challenging." —Los Angeles Times Book review
"An intellectually demanding, yet emotionally affecting, first novel...A shattering yet generous story not merely about survival guilt or scientific ethics, but the imperfection and resilience of the human condition." —Kirkus Reviews
"Dennis Bock creates his disturbing universe in the manner of the great moralists like Shusaku Endo or Athol Fugard. Grounding the two predominant man-made horrors of the last century in the lives of his three main characters, Bock's risk-taking imagination, his compassionate intelligence and superb writing, make The Ash Garden an evocative must-read experience." —Wayson Choy
"The Ash Garden can stand comparison with the best novels of our time. It is magnificent." —Leon Rooke
"The Ash Garden is a controlled explosion of a story, hugely energetic, powerful, and complex...Bock's writing is both dense and immensely readable, as engaging when it focuses on life's minutiae as when it explores life's catastrophes. The Ash Garden is difficult to forget and it rewards repeated readings in a way that few novels can." —Quill and Quire