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Book Review: All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Set in Russia in the 1980s this is a powerful and ambitious novel that brings to life the Chernobyl disaster and the plight of people prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. The story moves between a surgeon who is forced to operate on affected people, his ex-wife working in a car factory, hiding her dissident past, and her nephew a talented child prodigy, who is studying piano and trying to avoid being beaten up by other children. Then there is a family in the Ukraine, whose lives are changed forever the day they wake up to crimson skies and cow’s ears dripping blood.

This is a mesmerising novel in terms of its scope and detailed description. It truly brings to life a terrible disaster, and Russia in the 1980s, full of corruption and the sometimes inhumane treatment of its citizens. This is a debut novel and an astonishingly successful one. I look forward to reading more books by this highly skilled writer.

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