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All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

An Irish writer addresses the collapse of the Soviet Union through the lives of people affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is a terrific book. Through a set of characters, the little things that make up a human life are recorded alongside the big themes and terrible events that occurred in such a way that we really do feel what it must have been like to live through this catastrophe. A most impressive work.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


All That is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Russia, 1986. In a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a nine-year-old piano prodigy practices silently for fear of disturbing the neighbours. In a factory on the outskirts of the city, his aunt makes car parts, trying to hide her dissident past. In the hospital, a surgeon immerses himself in his work to avoid facing his failed marriage. And in a rural village in Belarus, a teenage boy wakes up to a sky of the deepest crimson. Outside, the ears of his neighbour's cattle are dripping blood. Ten miles away, at the Chernobyl Power Plant, something unimaginable has happened. Now their lives will change forever.

All That is Solid Melts into Air is an astonishing novel of terrifying beauty that captures the end of an era.


This daring and ambitious novel blends historical epic and love story with a moving description of the Chernobyl disaster and the fall of the Soviet Union. A book rich with resonance far beyond its historical moment -- Colm Toibin

Brilliantly imagined, exhilarating in its sweep; McKeon creates a thrilling appearance of ease, while he delves deep and forges new territory for the contemporary novel. Daring, generous and beautifully written, All That is Solid Melts into Air marks the beginning of a truly significant career. I cannot say it loud enough: McKeon is here to stay -- Colum McCann

About the Author

Darragh McKeon was born in 1979 and grew up in the midlands of Ireland. He has worked as a theatre director, and his writing has been shortlisted for the Francis McManus Short Story Award and the Filmbase/RTE Short Film Award. This is his first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Darragh McKeon

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