The 1,000-square-mile Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is, for many, a symbol of total disaster: a reminder of shattered ideals and lost lives, now a toxic, dangerous no-man’s-land. For Markiyan Kamysh, it became a site of pilgrimage. He and dozens like him call themselves ‘stalkers’: wild adventurers who sneak past border patrols to spend days getting lost in this apocalyptic environment of dense swampland and desolate villages.
Kamysh, the son of a Chornobyl disaster liquidator, takes us with him into this alien world. In electric prose that captures the spectral beauty of the Zone and the reckless spirit of the stalkers, Kamysh tells of hallucinatory journeys alone amid the rusted ruins, of frantic brushes with police and moments of ecstatic oblivion in the wasteland. Written with gonzo energy and brash lyricism, Stalking the Atomic City is a vital, singular document of this dystopian reality.