Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Svetlana Alexievich

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0312425848

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

Svetlana Alexievich

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0312425848

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Voices from Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown---from innocent citizens to firefighters to those called in to clean up the disaster---and their stories reveal the fear, anger, and uncertainty with which they still live. Comprised of interviews in monologue form, Voices from Chernobyl is a crucially important work, unforgettable in its emotional power and honesty.

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they were doing heroic work. We were well paid, but it was as if that didn’t matter. My salary was 400 rubles, whereas there I got 1000 (that’s in those Soviet rubles). Later people said, “They got piles of money and now they come back and get the first cars, the first furniture sets.” Of course it hurts. Because there was that heroic aspect, also. I was scared before I went there. For a little while. But then when I got there the fear went away. It was all orders, work, tasks. I wanted to see

or something else, would be galloping along on all fours, throwing out its long back legs, knees bent. At night it can see with a third eye, and its only ear, on the crown of its head, can even hear how ants run. Ants are the only thing left, everything else in heaven and earth has died. I sent the story to a journal. They wrote back saying that this wasn’t a work of literature, but the description of a nightmare. Of course I lacked the talent. But there was another reason they didn’t take it, I

young. My son was little. I loved him. And in the dream I’ve forgotten all the fears, as if I were just a spectator the whole time. Nadezhda Petrovna Vygovskaya, evacuee from the town of Pripyat MONOLOGUE ABOUT THE SHOVEL AND THE ATOM I tried to commit those days to memory. There were many new emotions—fear, a sense of tearing into the unknown, like I’d landed on Mars. I’m from Kursk. In 1969, they built a nuclear reactor nearby in the town of Kurchatov. We used to go there to buy food—the

scrape out the incinerated Russian tank drivers with shovels—what’s left of them. And nearby they’re standing with candles in the church. For Christmas. What now? We need to find out whether we’re capable of the sort of total reconsideration of our entire history that the Germans and Japanese proved possible after the war. Do we have enough intellectual courage? People hardly talk about this. They talk about the market, about vouchers, about checks. Once again, we’re just barely surviving. All

BOYLAN, Killoyle. IGNÁCIO DE LOYOLA BRANDÃO, Zero. CHRISTINE BROOKE-ROSE, Amalgamemnon. BRIGID BROPHY, In Transit. MEREDITH BROSNAN, Mr. Dynamite. GERALD L. BRUNS, Modern Poetry and the Idea of Language. GABRIELLE BURTON, Heartbreak Hotel. MICHEL BUTOR, Degrees. Mobile. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ape. G. CABRERA INFANTE, Infante’s Inferno. Three Trapped Tigers. JULIETA CAMPOS, The Fear of Losing Eurydice. ANNE CARSON, Eros the Bittersweet. CAMILO JOSÉ CELA, The Family of

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