May 24, 2005
In Voices from Chernobyl, Svetlana Alexievich presents the stories of the survivors of this nuclear accident in monologue form. These monologues come from ordinary residents, firefighters, soldiers and others who lived through this calamity. Allowing them to speak in their voice, Alexievich presents a sorrowful tale of loss. Not only did the residents lose family and friends, but most lost their homes. Even the land was scraped and the forests cut and buried. The survivors have grave health problems, especially the soldiers and emergency workers who either worked on the reactor or were part of the clean up team.
An eye-opening collection of firsthand recollections of the Chernobyl disaster, Voices from Chernobyl was riveting and enlightening, and as scary as any horror novel. The government's treatment of the residents of the area as well as the soldiers was horrid, and the losses suffered by these people almost unimaginable.
My next book is a bit more lighthearted (thank goodness), The Big Bento Book of Unuseless Japanese Inventions, by Kenji Kawakami.