Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear DisasterVoic­es from Cher­nobyl : The Oral His­to­ry of a Nuclear Dis­as­ter by Svet­lana Alexievich
My rat­ing : 5 of 5 stars

Svet­lana Alex­ievich won the Nobel Prize for this and her oth­er books, but don’t let that stop you from read­ing this breath­tak­ing col­lec­tion. It’s as if Chekov and Gogol and Dos­to­evsky had a three way, and their love child died in the bloom of her youth while song birds, drunk on vod­ka-infused berries nabbed from a bowl by her bed­side, sang dirges that meld­ed with her fit­ful, flut­ter­ing soul into an ether that filled the lungs of these men and women laid waste by Cher­nobyl. Every­body here is lost, for­got­ten, sac­ri­ficed, for­lorn, but they are so god­damned alive. When was the last time you had to stop read­ing a pas­sage for a minute because it was so great you didn’t want it to end ? That hap­pened over and over. The scope and depth of all it is over­whelm­ing, and since I fin­ished it tonight, I haven’t begun to put it in a crit­i­cal con­text. But I’m a lit­tle drunk on the melancholy.

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