Oct 162015

A few days ago Svetlana Alexievich received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. At 1 pm the Committee announced the decision, one hour later I saw the news, five minutes later I had her book “Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster” on my tablet. That’s what I currently read.

I chose that book, because I know a lot obout the catastrophe, because it happened in my early adult life, and because I often think about it. At that time we were told not to eat mushrooms. So much time has passed since, but it is just about the half-life of Cesium-137 or Strontium-90. Half of what rained down on Europe is still here. What do we do now? We eat mushrooms and call ourselves an intelligent species 🙂

How the book is? Well, it’s a collection of short chapters, each one based on one or more interviews with survivors and people who lived there, were evacuated and returned. It is a book that does not try to relate the events, instead it tries to give us a feeling for how it is to have been there, to have lost a beloved partner or a child. There is this certain mix of love and death, that is heart-wrenching. Absolutely recommended.

  2 Responses to “3285 – How We Used To Read”

  1. We are perhaps in between a digital shunning of those things and a pulse bomb from their triumphant return?

    • Won’t happen. As for us, we have a few thousand books on our shelves in Villach and Vienna, and after having moved them a few times, I a glad their number won’t increase 🙂

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