Marina Julia Neary has a fascinating and equally heart wrenching interview at Layered Pages, discussing the historical background of her dystopian (and somewhat autobiographical) novel, Saved by the Bang, set in the immediate aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Here's a bit from the interview:
What are the different emotions you had while writing this story?
Revenge, revulsion and sick amusement. You have to realize, I have very mixed feelings towards my country of origin and my former compatriots. There is no warm and fuzzy nostalgia. There's a fair amount of anger that I'm still trying to work through. I turn that anger into humor.
Any conspiracies in this story?
There is no conspiracy per se, but there's plenty of corruption. The extent of damage was covered up by the authorities. The deformed children born as result of the radiation leakage were swept under the rug. I wanted to share a few pictures from my home town. I took American and British journalists to expose the full extent of the damage. So as you can see, the tragic and the mundane exist side by side. You have a gorgeous historical park with flower beds, and just a few miles away, inside a clinic, you have children with severe birth defects and radiation-related cancer. I want my readers to see these images.