Customer Review

11 April 2019
This novel really opened my eyes to the impact of disasters such as Chernobyl on the families and communities involved, and how that continues even once media attention has moved on. It's a powerful warning about covering up mistakes - at home as well as at work.

The novel follows the decisions and consequences of protagonist, Anthony, as his tight-knit attempts to control his life begin to crumble around him following an incident at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, home to Britain's Trident and Antony's place of work. However hard he argues that he's not a member of the military, that he's not defined by his past, that he can choose to disconnect from the events around him in the same way he has wilfully disconnected from his biological family and is beginning to do from his wife, Antony discovers that there is a difference between surviving and living, and he must own his actions, face up to his past as a child affected by the Chernobyl disaster.

I particularly loved the sections set in the past in Russia - such a vivid, warm and realistic depiction of being a young boy frustrated by an ill parent and by caring for a younger sibling, desperate to be accepted and seen as more grown up but without the level of understanding about the severity of what is going on around him. Also, since I read the novel while staying on the Roseneath Peninsula, it brings forward the beauty of the landscape and the challenges faced by more rural communities, with the odd juxtaposition of the financial and logistical resources going in to maintaining a nuclear deterrent. It made me think twice about my decision to go for a swim in Loch Long...
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Product Details

4.9 out of 5 stars