Stalking the Atomic City: Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl

Tantor Audio. May 2022. tr. from Ukrainian by Reilly Costigan-Humes & Hanna Leliv. 3:06 hrs. ISBN 9798765011461. $12.99. HIST
This book recounts Kamysh’s personal connection to and many stays in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where he is a regular. Visits are illegal and possibly very dangerous because of contamination from the nuclear reactor disaster. Most people go because they are curious, although the place has been mostly abandoned since 1986. Tours are attractive to adventurers, scofflaws, and outlaws. People go to loot, party, hideout, examine the remains, and maybe bring back a little souvenir, most of which include toxic radiation readings. The forbidden is attractive, but this is also a place to interact with an environment where humans don’t rule. Narrator BJ Harrison does a wonderful job conveying the everyday quality of the author’s words in this apocalyptic setting. There is no added drama to the reading because there is no need for it.
VERDICT This first translated work from an important Ukrainian voice is an interesting addition to any public library collection.
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