Queen's University

Lines of Flight: An Atomic Memoir

Book cover: Lines of Flight: An Atomic Nightmare, by Queen's researcher Julie Salverson. Airplane flying amidst a flock of birdsWhen Julie Salverson discovers a link between Canada’s north and the atomic bombs that fell on Japan, she starts a ten-year journey that connects uranium, radiation, trauma, and resilience in unexpected ways. From a small village outside Toronto to Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories and on to Hiroshima, she traces the radioactive trail through our society. Written with energy and hope, Lines of Flightstrives to answer some of the key questions of life in the 21st century: how do we live in, and think about, this terribly beautiful worl? (Read More)

Excerpt:
I grew up listening to other people’s secrets. Vicarious suffering helped me weep. Joseph Campbell says to “follow your bliss” and while others respond by pursuing love or fulfillment, I’m drawn to tragedy and the fault lines in the psyche of a culture, the secrets that fester in families, leak quietly into communities and sometimes explode. When I was in grade nine, some friends let my mother and I stay alone in their cottage on Georgian Bay.  One night she went to sleep with candles burning. I was in my usual spot out on the rocky cliff watching the stars. I came back around midnight to burning curtains. We drove home in silence to our small village outside Toronto and my parents talked quietly in the kitchen about a trial separation – between mom’s drinking and me. (Read More)