All That Is Solid Melts into Air-A Novel, by Darragh McKeon, captivated me from the first page until the last page.
Once I began the novel, I couldn’t put it down. It not only intrigued me, but also left me considering so many of the depictions and word-imagery within the pages. McKeon does not lack for masterful descriptions. There are so many minute details that another author might have left out, but not McKeon.
The story line basically describes the horrifying 1986 Chernobyl disaster, and how it affected the characters in the story, along with the population of the city in Ukraine, a city that was devastated in so many ways from the disaster. It describes how those who were initially close to the situation had no idea of the intensity of the issue. Authorities were hustling individuals away, and beating them senseless for wanting to know what was happening. Those in charge were not filled with compassion, but evoked hatred and atrocious acts upon the citizens, as if the citizens, themselves, were at fault for the disaster. The authorities were not compassionate or sympathetic, but were acting like hate mongers, individuals who were disassociating themselves from the horrors.
The coverups were many, and the plight of those who suffered was enormous, affecting those from future generations. Instead of displaying truthfulness, the event was covered over, and facts were not presented factually. Those in command used the old stance of not depicting the horrors or the effects in a truthful manner.
The main characters are a surgeon, a nine-year old piano prodigy, and a boy who witnessed the changing mood and colors of the sky. Each of these individuals, plus a few others, are affected in various ways due to the Chernobyl disaster. From physical, psychological, and emotional, the lives are depicted with acuteness, conciseness and with little left to wonder about, in the scheme of the tragic event and it after-effects and affects on those in close proximity to the disaster.
I will not write about the story, as it is so compelling, and filled with historical accuracy, that one must read it, themselves in order to gain insight and factual relevance. Some of the details were shocking, startling and incomprehensible. Humans showing inhumane treatment of those in distress and those in extreme need.
I highly recommend All That Is Solid Melts into Air-A Novel. The historical aspect is important. The humanistic aspects are important, both the indifferent attitudes and the humanitarian attitudes.