All That Is Solid Melts into Air

All That Is Solid Melts into Air

3.5 4
by Darragh McKeon, Simon Prebble
     
 

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All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a gripping end-of-empire novel that charts the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focal point of the Chernobyl disaster. Part historical epic, part love story,
it recalls The English Patient
in its mix of emotional intimacy and sweeping landscape.

In a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a

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Overview

All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a gripping end-of-empire novel that charts the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focal point of the Chernobyl disaster. Part historical epic, part love story,
it recalls The English Patient
in its mix of emotional intimacy and sweeping landscape.

In a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a nine-year-old piano prodigy practices silently for fear of disturbing the neighbors.

In a factory on the outskirts of the city, his aunt makes car parts, trying to hide her dissident past.

In the hospital, a leading surgeon buries himself deep in his work to avoid facing his failed marriage.

And in a rural village in the Ukraine, a teenage boy wakes up to a sky of the deepest crimson. In the fields, the ears of the cattle are dripping blood. Ten miles away, at the Chernobyl Power Plant, something unimaginable has happened.

Now their lives will change forever.

All That Is Solid Melts into Air is an astonishing end-of-empire novel by a major new talent.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Anthony Marra
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air [is] a startling achievement. Even as McKeon cuts a wide swath, his scenes, characters and story lines build as the gradual accumulation of the particular…By investing objects and settings with a history of individual triumphs and disappointments, he wrings surprising emotional depth from the mundane. And by proving that stories too intimate to ever make their way into the history books are nonetheless worth telling, the novel makes a powerful argument that no one is unremarkable…it's hard to find fault in a novel so fearless. If McKeon's imaginative reach at times exceeds his structural grasp, this feels less like the avoidable missteps of a rookie than the inevitable fissures of a seasoned novelist pushing against the boundaries of his form.
Anthony Marra
“A startling achievement….McKeon’s characters may already have receded into history, but by imprinting their triumphs and tragedies onto the imagination with such visceral empathy, he has given them a deserving afterlife in this powerful novel.”
Colm Tóibín
“This daring and ambitious novel blends historical epic and love story…. Darragh McKeon handles the struggles of his characters with care and compassion and creates a book rich with resonance far beyond its historical moment.”
Colum McCann
“Brilliantly imagined in its harrowing account of the Chernobyl disaster and exhilarating in its sweep, All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a debut to rattle all the windows and open up the ventricles of the heart.…McKeon is here to stay.”
Booklist
“Set amidst the Chernobyl disaster, McKeon’s…graceful writing gives depth to his characters as they navigate indelibly changed landscapes and search for connection within chaos.”
Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Top surgeon Grigory finds refuge from his failed marriage in his work at a Moscow hospital. His ex-wife, Maria, makes car parts at a factory, the numbing repetition crushing her rebellious spirit. Maria's nephew is a nine-year-old piano prodigy, who practices noiselessly to avoid disturbing the neighbors at their dilapidated apartment building. And in a Ukrainian village, residents awaken to a crimson sky while in a nearby field the ears of cattle are dripping blood. An unthinkable tragedy has happened at the Chernobyl Power Plant, ten miles away, and nothing will ever be the same. This startling debut novel is a love story set against the harrowing tale of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. As the government attempts to downplay and even cover up the catastrophe, people are dying, some quickly, others slowly over years, black sores appearing on their tongues and skin; out in the woods, "Mother Nature is bleeding." VERDICT McKeon's thrilling narrative is matter-of-fact but emotionally powerful, and his convincing characters depict precisely the perseverance of the human spirit in the darkest of times. A promising debut; highly recommended. [See "Key Summer Titles," 2/3/14.]—Lisa Block, Atlanta

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781483018263
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.10(d)

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