Mireille is a talented, up and coming Australian novelist and The World Without Us is her third novel. Her first, Machines for Feeling was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award and the second, Burning In, was published by Giramondo Publishing in 2007. It was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award 2008, Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2008, the Age Book of the Year Award 2008 and the Nita B. Kibble Award 2008. Mireille joins us today to select her five most influential books. You can buy her latest book here.
I’m amazed that this extraordinary work is not more widely known, and I’m constantly lending my copy to friends. Voices from Chernobyl is a profoundly moving oral history of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. With a poet’s ear and a journalist’s zeal, Svetlana Alexievich captures the unique sensibility and philosophical character of the Russian people through conversations with firemen, evacuees and officials. Her inventive narrative structure lifts this oral history into another realm. Alexievich intersperses the testimonies of bravery, disbelief and resilience with “choruses”—voices of soldiers or settlers who returned to the devastated town of Pripyat. In its scope and passionate intelligence this work resembles a Tolstoy novel. I’m awed by her talent, innovation and humility. Buy the book here.
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