Mimesis and the Bomb: Race, Masculinity and (de)Colonial Identities in Martin Cruz Smith’s Stallion Gate”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many readers of Martin Cruz Smith’s cold war spy thrillers, including the best-selling Gorky Park (1981), are unfamiliar with his less well-known works engaging colonialism and modern warfare in the American Southwest. Most are also unaware of his Native American background. Smith’s mother, half Pueblo (Laguna) and half Yaqui, was a jazz singer and Indian rights activist, his father a white jazz musician. His historical novel Stallion Gate (1986), set in Los Alamos, New Mexico, details the Manhattan Project and the race to build and test the first atomic bomb. (Stallion Gate is the entrance to what would be called Trinity Site.) The novel is told from the point of view of Sergeant Joe Peña, a soldier from the fictional New Mexico pueblo of Santiago assigned to be J. Robert Oppenheimer’s driver, and explores the conflicted and entangled spaces of race and masculinity as they are shaped by colonialism and the bomb. Unlike the depiction of the atom bomb in Smith’s first novel The India
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
JournalSouthwestern American Literature--Edited Special Edition, The Atomic Southwest
StatePublished - Oct 2008

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