This essay discusses Svetlana Alexievich’s book Voices from Chernobyl as a complicated figuration of the Russian and Soviet literary traditions. A comparison is drawn with the Japanese documentary Little Voices from Fukushima (2015) by the antinuclear activist Hitomi Kamanaka. The comparison accentuates the literary nature of Alexievich’s philosophical pessimism and its indebtedness to an antithetical paradigm (Soviet voluntarism versus Russian passivity) in its refusal to entertain the possibility of another future.
Chernobyl, the Unheard Prayer: Svetlana Alexievich and the Little Voices of Fukushima
Olga V. Solovieva is assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of Chicago and the author of Christ’s Subversive Body: Practices of Religious Rhetoric in Culture and Politics (2017). She is currently working on two books, “The Russian Kurosawa” and “Thomas Mann’s Russia.”
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Olga V. Solovieva; Chernobyl, the Unheard Prayer: Svetlana Alexievich and the Little Voices of Fukushima. boundary 2 1 November 2018; 45 (4): 203–221. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-7142801
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