NEWS & REVIEWS
February 11th: Catherine Steindler reviewed my book for the LA Review of Books and understood everything I’d hoped to accomplish in the novel. “Williams’s quietly confident style is without swagger or gimmick. Her prose is like a transparent developing fluid, in which her distinct characters spontaneously emerge…In the end, what emerges most powerfully from The Longest Night is a kind of quiet wonder at the exquisite intricacy, but astonishing durability, of familial love.”
February 7th: Entertainment Weekly calls The Longest Night “stunning,” says, “This one stands apart. Williams expertly brings her beautifully written story to a tense conclusion you’ll still be thinking of long after you turn the last page.”
February 3rd: Historical Novels Review: “The Longest Night is a riveting 20th-century love story. Highly recommended.”
January 21: Review in San Francisco Chronicle. “Smart and detailed … assured debut.”
January: Amazon’s pick for “Debut Novel of the Month”
“A strikingly assured debut… Williams gets the details and language of the time just right–a doctor’s receptionist actually informs Nat of her pregnancy by saying ‘the rabbit died’ and there’s wit in even her most ordinary observations: ‘It was remarkable how even the mere mention of a couple of beers could make Richards act as if he’d already had them.’ This is a wise, entertaining and illuminating novel.” –Sara Nelson
Jan. 12: BookPage Review. “The subtlety [Williams] employs makes the novel’s twists and turns—and especially its conclusion—all the more affecting, even devastating…A revealing story of a community gripped by Cold War paranoia, but also an unsettling portrait of commitment and desire.”
— Review in Paste Magazine. “Nat’s humorously seditious thoughts ultimately breathe great fun and excitement into The Longest Night. Her growing resolve brings the book to a finish that not only packs taut, enthralling and utterly absorbing drama, but unexpected triumph and grace.”
–Review in Everyday E-Book: “The Longest Night is a wonderful book…a novel that is powerful and compassionate and deserving of a slot in your library.”
November 10: Starred Kirkus review. “Scintillating….A smoldering, altogether impressive debut.”
November 1: Big News! The Longest Night will be a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick for Spring 2016!
October 15: Starred review in Booklist. Kristine Huntley writes: “a luminous debut…utterly absorbing and richly rewarding.”
September 14: High Country News’s “Fall Reading List” by Jodi Peterson
July 6: The Longest Night listed by Library Journal’s Barbara Hoffert as one of “Five Key Literary/Historical Debut Novels” for Jan. 2016/
Jan. 20: MPR News with Kerri Miller
Jan. 12: “Book Q & A” with Deborah Kalb
Oct. 1: “Books Make a Difference” with Terri Barnes
SOME READER REVIEWS
Jan. 18: Books for What? “The Longest Night is a gripping story that kept us at the edge of our beds. The writing style is downright beautiful, and the action is constructed in such a way that the reader manages to resonate with all the characters. …… All we can say is that we thoroughly enjoyed The Longest Night, and it has a high chance of being the best book we will have read in 2016.”
Jan. 12: Running ‘n’ Reading: “This novel was a delicious surprise…I will warn you that when you get about 75-80% of the way through, you’d better clear your schedule; you won’t be able to put it down and there are some devastating twists and turns.”
Jan. 11: Time Now blog: “Imagination, insight, and craft are all in fine order.”
November 30: Really nice review by fellow military wife/mom and novelist, Kathleen M. Rodgers (author of ‘Johnnie Come Lately’). Esrom is her favorite character! “For those characters you love to hate, especially the ones who abuse power, Andria Williams does a superb job with Paul’s boss, Master Sergeant Richards (who drives a 1957 Cadillac Coupe de Ville), and his perfectly coiffed wife, Jeannie.”
November 24: Book Review in ‘Worn Pages and Ink’: “You can’t help but connect with these characters. Williams breathes life into them, so much so that you almost expect them to walk off the page.”
November 24: Book Review in ‘Bookin’ with Sunny’: “These characters are very real, and their problems worth weighing…Her rendering of a mid-twentieth century Idaho landscape, often cold and isolated, where military families are deposited unceremoniously into the midst of an unfamiliar Mormon milieu, seems quite realistic to me.”
October 17: Review on the Book Bug Blog: “The characters are well defined and you are drawn into their lives and drama. The author does an excellent job of bringing each to life and you either love or hate them. The story flows along, gaining momentum. The problems at the reactor and the characters personal lives are rushing to a pinnacle that seems unstoppable. Although fiction, she does a wonderful job of blending the novel with the true story to make it understandable and page turning.”
October 12: Seattle Book Mama blog: “Those of us that lived through the 1960’s will recognize how authentically Williams renders even the smallest details in setting, both the physical and social, of the Unites States during that time period. Home, clothing, and point of view are rendered expertly.”
July 14: “Amy Reads: The Longest Night” by Amy Bermudez on armyamy.com. “Military wives meet Mad Men. The Cold War. The veneer of perfection. Nannies, Jello molds, that pearly coupe de ville.”
PRAISE FROM WRITERS I ADMIRE:
“A family drama set at the dawn of the 1960s, THE LONGEST NIGHT is a smart, emotionally resonant novel that combines domestic anxiety with nuclear terror. Andria Williams writes as powerfully about the potential breakdown of a marriage as she does about the meltdown of a reactor, all while evoking the atmosphere and particulars of a time when the mad men who ran America from the sidelines might have ended us not with a whimper, but a bang.”– Aaron Gwyn, author of WYNNE’S WAR and DOG ON THE CROSS
“In THE LONGEST NIGHT, Andria Williams demonstrates her masterful understanding of the painfully gorgeous intimacies of the human condition. The author’s thrilling storyline will keep you turning the pages, while her ability to inject a sharp dose of hope, fear and desire into the most innocent of scenes will take you captive. I loved it.” — David R. Gillham, author of City of Women
“THE LONGEST NIGHT is a smart and compassionate novel that offers as many fresh insights into marriage and intimacy as it does about American nuclear history. Andria Williams is a terrific writer – clear-eyed and empathetic – and this is a fantastic debut.” — Molly Antopol, National Book Award-nominated author of The UnAmericans
“Andria Williams’ wonderful debut novel is a sobering yet inspiring portrait of human nature, with precisely rendered details about the early years of the nuclear power era. With exceptional characterization, serious content, graceful structure, and a storyline as gripping as a psychological thriller, THE LONGEST NIGHT is both unforgettable and impossible to put down.” — Frederick Reiken, author of The Odd Sea, The Lost Legends of New Jersey, and Day for Night
“Engrossing, witty, dynamic, and beautifully written, THE LONGEST NIGHT is a real-life literary thrill ride that unfolds in the shadow of a poorly functioning nuclear reactor. Andria Williams’ characters — particularly the 1960s military wives — are portrayed with extraordinary intimacy. This is a lovely, harrowing, and original novel; you will want to read it in a single night.” — Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members
“Andria Williams writes about the separation and distance of military life in a way that feels wholly original. As a military spouse, Williams brings every nuance of this world to life, but it’s her brimming talent and startling insight into the fragility and tenacity of marriage that kept me glued to the page.” — Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone
“In THE LONGEST NIGHT, unspoken longings within a marriage trigger an emotional explosion just as intense as the nuclear accident at the novel’s core. Andria Williams’ debut is an intimately detailed portrait of love, trust, and guilt in a town—and an era—clouded with secrets.” — Celeste Ng, NY Times-bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You
“There is a kind of story you think you know about the American West. And this book destabilizes it. Williams creates characters that challenge the protocols of the time, and are irradiated by the results. This is the West I want to read about. Where landscape shapes and dislocates, where one falls and is found again. Compassionate and compelling, Williams honors the lives of her characters, and shines in this striking debut.” —Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians
“In THE LONGEST NIGHT, Andria Williams brilliantly balances high-wire tension with heart-crushing empathy for her cast of seeking, flawed, beautifully complex characters. This debut novel effortlessly evokes the mores and signposts of an earlier era, and brings to life characters whose loneliness, longing, and dignity are rendered with an indelible vividness that transcends time. It’s a hard book to put down, and an even harder one to stop thinking about.” — Suzanne Rivecca, author of Death is Not an Option (stories)
3 thoughts on “News & reviews”
I am a native of Idaho Falls (early 1950s-on) who now lives in the Salt Lake City area. I recently read your book, The Longest Night and enjoyed it a great deal. The story was so good and I am glad you did not give in to the sabotage theory. Your characters were well-rounded and believable. I will read any book you publish, and I hope one is in the offing.
My father was a journalist who covered the nuclear accident at the time. Most of your facts about the accident, I think, are right on. I could not help but notice some research problems when it comes to the town though. There is no Main Street, there was no bus service until the 1980s, Mormons don’t drink coffee. Those are little details that just tell me you probably have never been to Idaho Falls. The glaring errors were that the navy was in charge of that facility, and there never has been army there, certainly no PX, army or navy. I worked for several years at a reactor facility at what is now the Idaho Laboratory. The security is serious. Anyone trying to leave the facility while contaminated with nuclear material would stand a very good chance of being shot. One last note, the Great Salt Lake has been much cleaner than it is now, but it has always been green, not blue.
Even so I enjoyed your novel a great deal. I hope to see more of your work.
Paula, Thank you for writing!! How fascinating that your father covered the story of the accident at the time. What did he think of the sabotage theory? And it’s also so interesting to hear that you yourself worked at the Idaho National Lab.
Thank you for your close reading of my book! The SL-1 was an Army reactor, not Navy, and its meltdown did essentially sound the death knell for the Army nuclear program. I renamed it the CR-1 in my book so that I would have a little more room to write fiction. (Two very good nonfiction accounts of the accident have already been written, by Todd Tucker and by William McKeown.)
I’m glad that you noticed the detail of Esrom drinking coffee. I went back and forth on that one. I decided that it would serve as a slight indicator that he was distancing himself from his faith, or that maybe he was trying to somehow impress Nat, or at least try to mask some of his differences. But it’s kinda cool that you noticed because it is something I thought about when I was writing his character!
Thank you so much for reading — I love hearing from readers, especially those with connections to the incident or region itself. I truly appreciate your taking the time to write. You sound like an avid reader, so I’d love to hear what other books are next on your list.
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