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The Southern Bell
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Book Review: Escape from Chernobyl

91 Views | Published February 22, 2024 | Edited February 22, 2024
Author

Olivia Castang

The Southern Bell - Writer
(Olivia Castang) —

Escape from Chernobyl, a novel by Andy Marino, follows a story about the real-life Chernobyl disaster which occurred in the city of Pripyat on April 26th, 1986. Main character Yuri Fomichev and love interest Sofia as well as their respective families suffer through the disaster firsthand. Yuri is an intern at the Chernobyl hnuclear plant. He is in reactor four during the explosion but is saved from the rubble. Despite this he can’t leave the plant because he knows there is a man stuck deep in the reactor. A main conflict in the story is Yuri’s heroic acts as he travels through the narrow scorching tunnels of reactor four to find the missing worker. He suffers burns as he approaches the core and even loses a finger in the chaos of the rubble. When he finally finds the worker, they realize that only Yuri can make it back out. Yuri resolves to leave to see Sofiya once more. Outside of the reactor, Sofiya is determined to warn the citizens of Pripyat to protect themselves from the radiation and to find Yuri. While this is occurring, Yuri’s younger cousins, Alina and Lev, embark on a journey of their own. They sneak back to Pripyat which their parents escaped from look for Yuri and Alina’s best friend Sofiya, as the government refused to warn the residents of the dangers of nuclear poisoning or evacuate them.

However, their journey is less than simple as they encounter numerous dangers along the way. Furthermore, a major aspect of the book questions what it means to be a loyal citizen of the Soviet Union. At the beginning, Yuri is unquestioningly loyal to his country and despises his cousin Alina’s illegal American music which her father allows her to carelessly listen to. But by the end of the story, Yuri admits while suffering from nuclear radiation that he liked the music after all. This reveals that he had thoughts and opinions of his own despite what the government outlawed.

This story implements aspects of adventure, action, romance, and tragedy. This chilling tale about the Chernobyl disaster would be a good read for people who aren’t easily fazed by sad and otherwise disturbing topics. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience and a thought provoking read. 

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