God Went Like That
In award-winning legal scholar and novelist Yxta Maya Murray’s new novel, federal agent Reyna Rodriguez reports on a real-life nuclear reactor meltdown and accidents that occurred in 1959, 1964, and 1968 at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. An infamous research and development complex in California’s Simi Valley, the lab was eventually dismantled by the US government—but not before it created a toxic legacy of contamination and numerous cancer clusters. Toxins and nuclear residue may have been further released by the 2018 Woolsey Fire and 2019 floods in the area.
God Went Like That takes the form of an EPA report in which Reyna presents riveting interviews with individuals affected by the disasters. With imagination and artistry, Murray brings to life an actual 2011 Department of Energy dossier that detailed the catastrophes and the ensuing public health fallout and highlights the high costs of governmental malfeasance and environmental racism.
Northwestern University Press
Murray, Yxta Maya, "God Went Like That" (2023). Environmental Book Event. 5.