Miraculously they find the operating manual, damp but usable. They locate the section. There's a section. Ears numb from the piercing alarm. Eyes streaming. A section. Scanning through pages. A title: "operational Procedures in the Event of Reactor Meltdown." A block of black ink, two pages, five pages, eight pages. All text has been wiped out, paragraphs hidden behind thick black lines. An event such as this cannot be tolerated, cannot be conceived, such a thing can never be planned for, as surely as it can never happen. The system will not fail, the system cannot fail, the system is the glorious motherland.
All That Is Solid Melts Into Air is a wonderful novel about the Chernobyl tragedy and the above is a perfect illustration of how the Soviet Union dealt with the whole
catastrophe. Below is an illustration of what they left behind.
A view of the abandoned city of Prypiat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and surprisingly this is one of the more mild images.
Using the Chernobyl tragedy to show what a clusterfuck the whole Soviet Union had become was an absolute stroke of genius. If the motherland said it couldn't happen then it wasn't happening, even if it was happening right under their noses.
Watching the various characters try to affect change in a country that was absolutely stagnant and refused to acknowledge that there might be a better way or there might possibly be something wrong was sad and frustrating (meaning I wanted to throw the book across the room at the stupidity of it all!!!) The hardest part was noticing how many of the worst things happening within the book are now beginning to happen in the US. I don't think that was deliberate on the author's part but it made one think.