The Chernobyl nuclear disaster inspired fiction and non-fiction alike.
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The world's worst nuclear accident happened thirty years ago on April 26, 1986. A recent article in the Atlantic reflected on how even the best works written about the catastrophe "express profound doubts about the power of language to absorb a disaster of this magnitude." That said, poignant, powerful and even poetic writings and images were inspired by the tragedy, here are five books that are a window onto the world's worst nuclear accident:
Svetlana Alexievich's Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (translated by Keith Gessen) has become a classic and is the first book to give a voice to hundreds of individuals personally affected by the disaster.
Roberto Polidori's Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl is a photography book that is out of print but should you get your hands on this book either in the library or by purchasing a used copy, the over 100 images taken in the exclusion zone in 2001 convey the terrible beauty of this now desolate area.
Martin Cruz Smith's character, Arkady Renko enters the Chernobyl exclusion zone with Wolves Eat Dogs, investigating the murder of a Moscow businessman.
Christa Wolf's Accident: A Day's News (Translated by Heike Schwarzbauer and Rick Takvorian) is a stream of consciousness account about a writer in East Germany who receives the news of the Chernobyl accident.
The short story The Zero Meter Diving Team, in Jim Shepard's collection Like You'd Understand, Anyway which first appeared in BOMB magazine here is a first person account of the accident by the fictional Boris Yakovlevich Prushinsky, chief engineer of the Department of Nuclear Energy at the Chernobyl power station.