Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

All That Is Solid Melts into Air

by Darragh McKeon

All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon X
All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 464 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A gripping end-of-empire novel charting the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focalpoint of the Chernobyl disaster.

All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a gripping end-of-empire novel, charting the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focalpoint of the Chernobyl disaster. Part historical epic, part love story, it recalls The English Patient in its mix of emotional intimacy and sweeping landscape.

In a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a nine-year-old piano prodigy practices silently for fear of disturbing the neighbors.

In a factory on the outskirts of the city, his aunt makes car parts, trying to hide her dissident past.

In the hospital, a leading surgeon buries himself deep in his work to avoid facing his failed marriage.

And in a rural village in the Ukraine, a teenage boy wakes up to a sky of the deepest crimson. In the fields, the ears of the 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 end-of-empire novel by a major new talent.

Excerpt
All That Is Solid Melts into Air

He comes to her daily, slipping into her mind between breaths. She draws him in as she draws in air, pedaling along the Quai de Valmy, as she draws in her new surroundings; the glow of a Paris summer, the jigsaw of shadows thrown across her forearms when she sweeps beneath a canopy of poplars.

She can never say what it is that triggers a recollection, they come into being in such stealthy ways. Perhaps there was something of Grigory in the man with the cigarette at the lock just passed, a familiarity in the way this stranger brought a flaring match to his face. But then the breadth of their marriage contains a corresponding moment for any of the thousands of minute actions that surround her.

His image is lost to her now, belonging solely to the photographs he inhabits. She can no longer see him in resemblance, but only in the motions of others, so that when she chains her bicycle to the railings by the canal and steps toward the café...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Mckeon’s descriptions of the fallout are memorable, not just for the pain he depicts so movingly, but for the fact that he does so without a hint of melodrama. What’s even more unsettling is the knowledge that there’s a cloud of suspicion and half-truths; that information is not being shared fully; that the enormous human costs of such a tragedy are largely being swept under the rug...continued

Full Review (764 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. This debut novel is set in 1986, the year of the catastrophe at Chernobyl, and that disaster serves as the dramatic backdrop for the unfolding of action and character… Serious and thoughtful fiction.

Library Journal
Starred Review. This startling debut novel is a love story set against the harrowing tale of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.… A promising debut; highly recommended.

Booklist
Set amidst the Chernobyl disaster, McKeon's…graceful writing gives depth to his characters as they navigate indelibly changed landscapes and search for connection within chaos.

Publishers Weekly
McKeon's fiction serves up, without cliché, what so many futuristic dystopian novels aspire to: a reminder that human beings can bring about their own demise.

Author Blurb Colm Tóibín
This daring and ambitious novel blends historical epic and love story… Darragh McKeon handles the struggles of his characters with care and compassion and creates a book rich with resonance far beyond its historical moment.

Author Blurb Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
Brilliantly imagined in its harrowing account of the Chernobyl disaster and exhilarating in its sweep, All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a debut to rattle all the windows and open up the ventricles of the heart…McKeon is here to stay.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Chernobyl Disaster

In All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, the Chernobyl disaster acts as the primary backdrop against which the story unfolds. Darragh McKeon describes the accident and the horrific aftermath in moving detail.

Chernobyl DisasterThe disaster took place more than twenty-five years ago, on April 26, 1986, Situated about 88 miles north of Kiev in Ukraine, which was then part of the Soviet Union, the nuclear plant comprised four reactors all based on the Soviet designed RBMK-1000 model. In this model, enriched uranium is used to heat water, which is then used to drive turbines and generate electricity. In most nuclear reactors, water is also used as a gauge to control the core's reactivity. This means that as the core heats up, it produces steam or bubbles in the ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked All That Is Solid Melts into Air, try these:

  • The Half Life of Valery K jacket

    The Half Life of Valery K

    by Natasha Pulley

    Published 2024

    About this book

    More by this author

    From the author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Kingdoms, an epic Cold War novel set in a mysterious town in Soviet Russia.

  • Atomic Anna jacket

    Atomic Anna

    by Rachel Barenbaum

    Published 2023

    About this book

    From the author of A Bend in the Stars, an epic adventure as three generations of women work together and travel through time to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs of their past.

We have 11 read-alikes for All That Is Solid Melts into Air, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Exhibit
    Exhibit
    by R O. Kwon
    Exhibit, R.O. Kwon's sophomore novel (after The Incendiaries, 2018), introduces readers to Jin Han, ...
  • Book Jacket: Somehow
    Somehow
    by Anne Lamott
    Anne Lamott knows a thing or two about love. In fact, there is so much of it exuding from her essay ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Wings Upon Her Back
    by Samantha Mills
    Faith is a delicate thing. At its best, it can offer peace in times of crisis. At its worst, it can ...
  • Book Jacket: All Fours
    All Fours
    by Miranda July
    The premise of her second novel All Fours is simple enough but also as strange as one would expect ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Long After We Are Gone
by Terah Shelton Harris
After their father's death, four siblings rally to save their family home in this gripping and hopeful tale.
Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Win This Book
Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.