From the editor’s afterword of Birgitta Ingemanson:
The book is a labor of love, first and foremost by its author, Lyubov Sirota, who as a mother and a professional experienced the tragedy of Pripyat, and as a poet felt—and could describe—its chilling abyss. Lyubov Makarovna’s words recreate not only the physical devastation of the power station itself, the city next to it, and the people’s bodies and minds that became enmeshed in illness and sorrow, but also the authorities’ desperate, unsuccessful balancing act between the need for knowledge and the shameful cover-ups. At the same time, this atmosphere of mismanagement, human errors, and cowardly avoidance of uncomfortable truths is breathtakingly held up to scorn in the completely genuine opposite reaction also shown: Ordinary people—friends, dying patients, some nurses and doctors, even kind strangers—simply decide to support and take care of each other, because their moral stance allows nothing less.
If a medical “Pripyat syndrome” exists, then it was invented by the well-known syndrome of bureaucratic lies. Still, beyond the dying landscape of this story, a vibrant portrait of human warmth opens up: poetry and music that inspire, simple words of solace by one woman or man to another, arms stretched out in trust and love. Lyubov Makarovna’s faithful conviction that “we shall overcome” is age-old and so vital to humanity that it cannot be obliterated. It is stubbornly alive in this story, nourished by joyful sweeps of nature, golden glimpses of human closeness, and the often sharp humor that illuminate many dark moments. This is true among the people close to Irina, and it is true in Life. With grim satire, a brave and proud woman from Vladivostok, Ariadna Belova, called her years of existence in the bleak Kolyma camps her “Kolyma University,” and, after describing their inhumane daily rhythm, startled her audience with the perplexing conclusion that “even there we laughed.” As both Lyubov Makarovna and Ariadna Ilinichna were forced to learn while their and their co-sufferers’ bodies were breaking, it was their relationships with friends amidst terror that sustained them, and irony blended with sharp humor offered medicine for the soul.
From this we can all learn something about the wisdom of survival.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||559 KB|
About the Author
In 1975 Sirota and her parents moved to their ancient homeland, Ukraine, where she graduated from the Faculty of Russian Philology at Dnepropetrovsk State University. She directed the literary associations Poisk (“quest”) in the city of Komsomolsk (Poltava oblast) and, from 1983, “Prometheus” at the Energetik Palace of Culture in Pripyat. After the Chernobyl catastrophe and the evacuation from Pripyat, Sirota has lived in Kiev where she worked as an editor at the Alexander Dovzhenko Film Studio until 1992.
The author’s poems, articles, and essays have been published in anthologies, as well as in many journals and newspapers of the former Soviet Union and Ukraine. After her collection of poetry, Nosha (“the burden”), and Rollan Sergienko’s film Porog (“the threshold”) came out, her poems became well-known all over the world. She was the coauthor and a leading character in the film.
Sirota’s works have been translated into English, German, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and other languages. Thanks to Professor Paul Brians, Washington State University, her poems (in English translation by Elisavietta Ritchie and Leonid Levin) have been heard on the U.S. national radio program Terra Infirma, and were published in the following collections: Life on the Line: Selections on Words and Healing; Perspectives from the Past; A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-Five Years of Women’s Poetry; and Perspectives on Modern World History: Chernobyl. Sirota’s poetry has also appeared in Canadian and American journals, including Calyx, Zhinochii Svit, Promin, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The New York Quarterly, WISE, The Russell Record Magazine, The Modern Review, and In Our Own Words.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews