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The Sky Unwashed: A Novel by [Zabytko, Irene]
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4.2 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Length: 276 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ukrainian-American Zabytko's poignant debut novel was inspired by the true story of villagers who defied the forced evacuation of their Ukrainian town after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in the 1980s. The narrator is septuagenarian Marusia Petrenko, a hard-working grandmother who lives with Yurko, her only son; his wife, Zosia; and their two small children, Katia and Tarasyk, in a tiny house where only a thin curtain separates Marusia's quarters from the rest of the family's. Like many of the townspeople in Starylis, Zosia and Yurko work at the nuclear power plant in nearby Chernobyl. The drama begins one spring weekend in 1986, when several of the village's men do not return home from their shifts at the plant. One by one, the people of Starylis begin to notice a strange metallic taste in the air and to suffer from itchy, watery eyes. The official word is that there has been "a fire" at the plant, according to the militsiia who round up villagers for evacuation to Kiev. But in Kiev things are not much better. The Petrenko family is eventually separated: Marusia stays with Yurko, who is suffering from radiation sickness, and Zosia takes her children to Moscow in hopes of a better life. Over the months that follow, Marusia battles to reunite her family and to return to Starylis, which has been declared uninhabitable due to radiation. While readers may find the English transliterations of names in both Russian and Ukrainian a bit confusing (the city is Kiev on one page and Kyiv on the next, for example), this is a minor irritation in an otherwise quietly insightful novel about a indomitable individual defying the state in order to return to her home. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Zabytko's riveting first novel explores the aftermath of the 1986 nuclear explosion in Chernobyl through the lives of inhabitants of a tiny Ukranian village. Starlis is a farm town that had become, before the accident, a bedroom community for plant workers. The book follows the foced evacuation of its townspeople to unfamiliar urban centers and charts their attempt to understand what has happened. The bureancratic shuffling and callous doublespeakl that greet their queries about both the environment and the health risks they face are vividly rendered. Throughout, Zabytko - who is Ukranian American - evokes powerful impages of listless, despondent children and wheezing, red-eyed adults, but it is her portrayal of a group of ederly women who defy government dedict and return to their homes that provides the story with heart. Readers will undoubtedly be moved by thier courage, fortitude, and spirit. Although the book occasionally veers into Anit-Communist cant, it is more often poignant and inspiring. Highlt recommended for public and academic libraries. - Eleanor J. Bader, New School for Social Research, Eugene Lang Coll., Brooklyn, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 1185 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (March 31, 2000)
  • Publication Date: March 31, 2000
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00885XJPW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,482 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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