Though the grotesque, earthy, and life affirming tales of Nikolai Gogol were written is St. Petersburg, they were very much a product of his native Poltava, with the legends, language, sights, sounds, and smells of his native land inspiring him to produce such classics as ‘Tales From a Farm Near Dikanka’, which would change the nature of Russian literature forever. – from What’s On Website
First, it was politics, then it was gas. Now the protracted antagonism between Russia and Ukraine is taking on a literary tinge, as the bickering neighbours vie for the legacy of Nikolai Gogol on the 200th anniversary of his birth. – Tom Parfitt, The Guardian
“The Fair at Sorochintsy” in The Complete Tales of Nikolai Gogol, edited by Leonard J. Kent (Chicago, IL : The University of Chicago Press, reprint 1985)
Nikolai Gogal was born in Sorochintsy, then part of the Russian Empire, in March 1809. He memorialized his birthplace in the charming short story, “The Fair at Sorochintsy.” Sorochintsy celebrates their “favorite son” with a monument, erected in 1911, by the famous Russian sculptor Ilya Ginzburg, and with The Gogol Memorial Museum. The fair that Gogol made famous continues as an annual summer event.
“The weary sun, after blazing through morning and noon, was tranquilly withdrawing from the earth, and the daylight was going out in a bright lovely glow. The tops of the white booths and tents stood out with dazzling brightness, suffused in a faint rosy tint of fiery light. The panes in the window frames piled up for sale glittered; the green goblets and bottles on the tables in the drinking booths flashed like fire; the heaps of melons and pumpkins looked as though they were cast in gold and dark copper. There was less talk, and the weary tongues of merchants, peasants, and gypsies moved more slowly and deliberately. Here and there lights began gleaming and savory steam from cooking dumplings floated over the hushed streets.” – from “The Fair at Sorochintsy," by Nikolai Gogol
The accident occurred on April 25–26, 1986, when technicians at reactor Unit 4 attempted a poorly designed experiment. Workers shut down the reactor's power-regulating system and its emergency safety systems, and they withdrew most of the control rods from its core while allowing the reactor to continue running at 7 percent power. These mistakes were compounded by others, and at 1:23 AM on April 26 the chain reaction in the core went out of control. Several explosions triggered a large fireball and blew off the heavy steel and concrete lid of the reactor. This and the ensuing fire in the graphite reactor core released large amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere, where it was carried great distances by air currents. A partial meltdown of the core also occurred. – Encyclopedia Britannica
Voices from Chernobyl : the Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich; translated by Keith Gessen (New York : Picador, paperback 2006)
Voices from Chernobyl : the Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich, is a reminder of what happened on April 26, 1986, and what could happen again if we’re not careful and vigilant. Alexievich “interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown…and their stories reveal the fear, anger, and uncertainty with which they still live.” Winner of the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, Voices from Chernobyl is a necessary and unforgettable book.
“The first time they told us we had radiation, we thought: It’s a sort of a sickness, and whoever gets it dies right away. No, no, they said, it’s this thing that lies on the ground, and gets into the ground, but you can’t see it. Animals might be able to see it and hear it, but people can’t.” – from “Monologue About What Can Be Talked About with the Living and the Dead” (Zinaida Kovalenko, re-settler), Voices from Chernobyl : the Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich