is reading "All That is Solid Melts into Air" written by Darragh McKeon on February 19.
All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon tells the horrific story of the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Pripyat, Ukraine on April 26, 1986.
"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind," is from a passage in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. These are prophetic words, as the Chernobyl disaster is an outcome of the self destructive nature of modernization. It is a time for reckoning. Three years later in 1989, the Iron Curtain comes down and Russia as it was, dissolves.
The novel revolves around the lives of a young physician, Grigory Brovkin, his ex-wife, Maria and her nephew and child piano prodigy, Grigory is called to the site soon after the explosion to care for those exposed to massive amounts of radiation.
This epic book vividly portrays the fear, chaos, naivety and disempowerment of the people.
Growing up, McKeon was aware of the disaster and was inspired to write the novel by the children of Chernobyl who were brought to Ireland by the Irish charity, Chernobyl Children International and by the farmers who were drawn to return home and its contaminated land. I have included below two videos, one depicting the destruction in 1986 and the other of Chernobyl today.
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster on Disaster Channel
Chernobyl Drone Video: Rare haunting video footage Pripyat exclusion zone by Philip Grossman