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Alexievich, Svetlana (Translated by Keith Gessen). VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL: THE ORAL HISTORY OF A NUCLEAR DISASTER. Santa Fe, New Mexico: Lannan Foundation/Dalkey Press Archive, 2005. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 240 pages. As New/As New.

Landmark Oral History on subject. One of the greatest books of the 20th century. The first appearance of the title in English and in the United States. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only and as part of the Lannan Foundation's "Russian Literature Series". The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Svetlana Alexievich's "Tchernobylskaia Molitva" in a felicitous English translation by Keith Gessen, one of the most renowned translators of Russian literature of our time. Personal accounts of what happened to the people of Belarus after the nuclear reactor accident in 1986. The fear, anger, and uncertainty that they still live with is given their fullest expression: "A chorus of fatalism, stoic bravery, and black, black humor is sounded in this haunting oral history of the 1986 nuclear reactor catastrophe in what is now Northeastern Ukraine. Records a wide array of voices: A woman who clings to her irradiated, dying husband though nurses warn her 'that's not a person anymore, that's a nuclear reactor'; a hunter dispatched to evacuated villages to exterminate the household pets; soldiers sent in to clean up the mess, bitter at the callous, incompetent Soviet authorities who 'flung us there, like sand on the reactor', but accepting their lot anyway as a test of manhood; an idealistic nuclear engineer whose faith in Communism is shattered. There are the local peasants who take this latest in a long line of disasters in stride, filtering back to their homes to harvest their contaminated potatoes, shrugging that if they survived the Germans, they'll survive radiation. Alexievich shapes these testimonies into novelistic monologues that convey a vivid portrait of late-Communist malaise, in which bullying party bosses, paranoid propaganda, and chaotic mobilizations are resisted with bleak sarcasm ('It wasn't milk, it was a radioactive by-product'), mournful philosophizing ('The mechanism of evil will work under conditions of Apocalypse'), and lots of vodka. The result is an indelible X-ray of the Russian soul" (Publishers Weekly). The only oral historian of comparable stature and achievement - and is her influential predecessor - is the late great Studs Terkel, who pursued a lifetime project that is as vast, humane, and monumental, on the story of America and the American Dream. "Her polyphonic writings are a monument to suffering and courage in our time. She has invented a new kind of literary genre: A history of emotions, a history of the soul" (Nobel Prize Citation). An absolute "must-have" title for Svetlana Alexievich collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed and dated in black pen on the title page by the author: "Svetlana Alexievich 12. VI. 016". It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. Alexievich made a one-time-only appearance in New York City to launch "Secondhand Time". Laid-in is a pristine set of Souvenir Photos of the event during which her signature was obtained. This title is a great book. This is one of very few such signed and dated copies of the First American Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, the very first full-time journalist in history to win the world's most prestigious literary prize. One of the greatest writers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1564784010. $350.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on February 24, 2017.