Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich

Kindle, 236 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by Picador (first published 1997)
Original Title: Чернобыльская молитва: Хроника будущего
ISBN: 0312425848 (ISBN13: 9780312425845)
Edition Language: English
setting: Prypiat (Ukraine), Chernobyl (Ukraine), Belarus
Literary Awards National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction (2005)

I don't know what I was thinking, starting to read this book. Voices From Chernobyl is a powerful work which deserves a broad readership. As well as being a unique exploration of the human effects of widespread radioactive contamination, it offers a view of the final years of the Soviet Union and of life in Byelorussia. It should certainly be read by those caught up in the recent revival of enthusiasm for nuclear power, if only so the possible consequences of accidents are clear.
I come from Eastern Europe. I was born right after the communist regime ended. My mum, dad and brother all remember the horror of Chernobyl and how everything was hushed by the government. My father survived cancer and radiation, barely... he lost a lot of his friend to cancer...
This was one of the hardest books to read... It took me so long to finish it because I was feeling the pain of the interviewees. At times I just had to stop, because my tears were blurring my vision. 
I will not say more about it. I will use a quote and let the people who decide to read it judge for themselves:

"We’re afraid to talk about it. We don’t know how. It’s not an ordinary experience, and the questions it raises are not ordinary.”

#chernobyl, #wecry #horror #interview #wakeupcall