Civilization and the Russian Far East
I read the book “The Dead Lake” by Ismailov,Hamid, translated by Andrew Bromfield, that was published by (Pierene Press, 2014) with only 128 pages. The story is told about Yerzhan, the main character, who is a 12 year old boy that lives with his grandparents, mother and uncle in the remote town in Kazakhstan. It is told in third person, but we imagine ourselves in the position of the young boy. The town is old and nearly deserted as the only ones near are one neighbor and a train. His only surrounding is known as the Steppe, a deserted massive piece of land with an eerie sense. The steppe has many stories told about ...view middle of the document...
I feel as though because the town is so remote and deserted that there are no safety precautions taken at the facility. Not only do they not care, but the residents, such as the neighbor, want to produce more that the US and will work as hard as they can to do so. It is obvious that to Yerzhan and his family they view the testing as a way of life and are accustomed to it. This is foreshadowing of the effects the nuclear facility will have on Yerzhan. In the future Yerzhan will become aware and have to witnesses the devastation first hand.
One day during a school field trip to the testing facility Yerzhan dives into the lake, unaware of the consequences. My question I had at this point is, why are they taking a field trip to the testing facility? The lake is called The Dead Lake, and this is where the title comes from. The water is a bright green color, clearly changed from the facility. At first Yerzhan believes nothing will come from his quick did, but then he knows his fate. He is unable to age. He will no longer grow older. He tries over and over again to reverse what the lake has done to his body, but all fail. He desperately tries to fight the curse, trying everything he can think of from doing pull-ups on their door frame and stretching in bed to even lying in the sun for hours. He has heard that basketball players are always tall, so he even nails an old, rusty wheel hoop to the wall of their house and tosses a ball of camel wool through it over and over again. His family even tries to give...