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The Chernobyl nuclear disaster inspired fiction and non-fiction alike.

Alex Chams By Alex Chams Published on April 28, 2016

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.

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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.

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Martin Cruz Smith's character, Arkady Renko enters the Chernobyl exclusion zone with Wolves Eat Dogs, investigating the murder of a Moscow businessman.

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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.

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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.

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Journalist, globe trotter and food lover