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The Sky Unwashed

The Sky Unwashed - Irene Zabytko 3.5 Stars

The Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytbo was an interesting read which told the story of Marusia Petrenko and her family who live on a small farm in the Ukraine and how on an April Saturday Morning in 1986 her life and the lives of her family and neighbours is changed forever by the horrors of the Chernobyl accident and the disturbing way in which the government mislead the people.

This is fictitious account of the Chernobyl disaster which made the word sit up and take notice as we all waited and wondered what if? How will this affect us? but while we were safe the people of Chernobyl were frantically trying to come to terms with the reality of the situation.

I enjoyed the book and really did get a feel for the people who lived in this part of the country and their traditions. I enjoyed reading how the older women lived their life's and watched as the younger women pushed the boundaries with their desperate attempts to dye their hair and take on the looks of pop stars of the day. I was amazed at the consumption of alcohol by workers at the plant and by people on a daily basis.
I learned so much from this book but this is not a happy story and there is so much sadness.
I found the following passage so disturbing,

Because abortion was the only available birth control in soviet Union, Zosia had not mourned her four past abortions. She knew women who had had twelve or fifteen and she expected as many for herself.

This is a story of a people who struggle to survive and who want to just get back to normal after this terrible disaster and who have no idea the effects for years to come they will have to deal with.

The only downside of the novel for me was the lack of information about the actual disaster and I was looking for facts and figures that this book did not give me. Having said that I did enjoy this book and felt I learned something from it.