Monday, May 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR: All That's Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon

Title: All That is Solid Melts into Air
Author: Darragh McKeon
Genre: Hsitorical/Cultural Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: April 29/2014
Acquired:  Print copy provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Russia, 1986. On a run-down apartment block in Moscow, a nine-year-old prodigy plays his piano silently for fear of disturbing the neighbors. In a factory on the outskirts of the city, his aunt makes car parts, hiding her dissident past. In a nearby hospital, a surgeon immerses himself in his work, avoiding his failed marriage.

And in a village in Belarus, a teenage boy wakes to a sky of the deepest crimson. Outside, the ears of his neighbor's cattle are dripping blood. Ten miles away, at the Chernobyl Power Plant, something unimaginable has happened.Now their lives will change forever.

An end-of-empire novel charting the collapse of the Soviet Union, All That Is Solid Melts into Air is a gripping and epic love story by a major new talent.


It's an asset to know your country's history, and it's an impressive conversational tool if you happen to know the history of other countries. I am ashamed to say that I'm ignorant on both accounts. I know enough to be present during a conversation, and not feel completely left out, but not enough to warrant praise. It should then be a direct reflection of the the author's writing ability, when they are able to convey history to it's reader in terms that are easy to grasp, and in the case of All That is Solid Melts into Air, an absolute emotional explosion of explanation (whoa, tongue twister).

All That is Solid Melts into Air was a poignant delve into the lives of a handful of characters, leading up to, during, and after the disastrous meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Moscow in April 1986. McKeon created fictional lives existing within a time in the world that was very real, and very factual. The voices in this novel were outspoken, in both the words they did, and did, not say out loud. It was like looking into a snow globe town right before it got shaken upside down, and by then, I was existing inside of it's disarray, and experiencing every fearful, desperate, and discouraged emotion.

It took a moment to contain all of the characters that were fighting to be heard, their names were foreign, and sometimes very similar to the next: Vasily, Vygovskiy, Zhykhov. Though, when I got on track, what lay ahead was a story that was impossible to ignore. McKeon's writing was absolutely mesmerizing, in a way that made you forget that there were real moments of history being explained; that the story existed in a time where Soviet citizens were victims of a strict government system. All of this wasn't told a way that caused you to glaze over those points, but to embrace them, and react in awe or shock. All That is Solid Melts into Air was a story about specific characters, but it became a story about the masses. About how this nuclear explosion horrendously disrupted lives, a whole town, but it was also about how smaller tragedies could effect an individual's life: divorce, bullying, loneliness, a need to be accepted.

If you have a little more time than usual to spend with a narrative, spend it with this one. All That is Solid Melts into Air will capture your heart, and, as it did for me, shed light onto an event that you may not have heard about. The research the author must have done astounds me, especially since he himself has no Russian origin. A solid debut, and another great author to look out for! 

Recommended for fans of: Historical Fiction, Cultural Fiction, Literary Fiction, Tara Conklin, Francine Prose.


Darragh McKeon was born in 1979 and grew up in the midlands of Ireland. Since graduating from University College Dublinhe has worked as a theater director throughout Europe and the United States with companies such as Steppenwolf (Chicago), The Royal Court (London), and Young Vic (London), and Rough Magic Theatre (Ireland). He now lives in New York. All That is Solid Melts into Air is his first novel.

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Thank-you to Lisa from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Harper for sending me an e-copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. There was a while that I was really interested in this part of history. I think I would totally dig this book!

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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