By Svetlana Alexievich
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Additional info for Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future
They keep dying. It’s a quick death, they die on the go. They’ll be walking along and just collapse, black out and never wake up. Bringing flowers to the nurse and their heart fails. Or standing at a bus stop. They’re dying, but no one ever really questioned them properly. About what we went through, what we saw. People don’t want to hear about death, all these terrible things. But I’ve told you about love. About how much I loved. Lyudmila Ignatenko, wife of Vasily Ignatenko, deceased fireman The author interviews herself on missing history and why Chernobyl calls our view of the world into question I am a witness to Chernobyl.
He looked so funny, had these size forty-eight pyjamas on, though he was a fifty-two. The sleeves and legs were too short. But the swelling had gone down on his face. They were giving them these fluids by a drip. ‘What’s all this, eh? ’ I asked. He wanted to hug me. ’ The doctor wouldn’t allow him near me. ’ Somehow we turned it into a joke. At that point everyone came running over, even from the other wards. All our guys from Pripyat. Twenty-eight of them had been flown here. They wanted to know what was happening back home.
Somebody in the crowd heard him: they were being moved to Moscow that night. The wives all huddled together. We decided we were going with them. ’ We fought and scratched. The soldiers were pushing us back, there were already two rows of them. Then a doctor came out and confirmed they were being flown to Moscow, but he said we needed to bring them clothes – what they were wearing at the power station had all got burned. There were no buses by then, so we ran, all the way across town. We came running back with their bags, but the plane had already gone.
Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future by Svetlana Alexievich