Stalking the Atomic City. Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl

Author: Kamysh, Markiyan

Publication Date:

April 2022



Original language and publisher

Ukrainian | Astra House

Territories Handled

English (UK & BC excl Can)


Narrative Non-Fiction

Stalking the Atomic City. Life Among the Decadent and the Depraved of Chornobyl

Author: Kamysh, Markiyan


An ambitious, moving account of women controlling their bodies and their destinies. — Kirkus

Not since Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano have I been so enthralled by such a poetic rush to madness. But that was fiction: Markiyan Kamysh’s epic immersion in this dread symbol of humanity’s self-inflicted undoing is shockingly real, recounted in a stunning, original voice as lyrical as it is unnerving. — Alan Weisman, bestselling author of The World Without Us and Countdown

Grimly fascinating insights… a memorable read. — Independent

An extraordinary window on Chernobyl. — New Scientist

An existential travel guide and an experiment in gonzo psychogeography, it stirs obvious comparisons with Hunter S Thompson… mesmerising. — Telegraph

Remarkable book. — The Guardian

Midnight in Chernobyl meets A Field Guide to Getting Lost in this rare portrait of the dystopian reality that is Chornobyl today, and the marginalized people who now call the Exclusion Zone their home.

Since the Chornobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986, the area still remains a toxic, forbidden wasteland. But as with all dangerous places, it attracts a wild assortment of adventurers who climb over the barbed wire in the middle of the night to witness the aftermath of catastrophe in the flesh.

Markiyan Kamysh, whose father worked as an on-site disaster liquidator of Chornobyl, works as a “stalker,” guiding people who dare to venture illegally into the disaster area for thrills. By turns lyrical and confessional, Stalking the Atomic City unveils the state of the site today and the unusual communities that have found a home in the desolate place known as the Exclusion Zone.

Kamysh tells us about criminals who hide in the abandoned buildings, the policemen who chase them, and romantic utopists who have built families here, even as deadly toxic waste lingers in the buildings, playgrounds, and streams.

An extraordinary guide to this alien world, Kamysh has unique access and expertise as well as a deep personal connection to this dystopian reality. Complete with stunning photographs by the author, Stalking the Atomic City is a haunting account of what total autonomy could mean in our growingly fractured world.


  • Readers of Midnight in Chernobyl, Voices from Chernobyl, and people who loved the HBO series Chernobyl, who are hungry for more material on the subject
  • Readers of Five Days at Memorial and Into the Raging Sea who are curious about the aftermath of environmental catastrophes decades later
  • Readers of adventure stories that take place in extreme, dangerous places, lost civilizations and the obsessive people who live there, like Lost City of Z and The Lost City of the Monkey God
  • Russians and Russophiles who loved Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker or the Strugatsky brothers’ Roadside Picnic, interested in the portrait of a real-life stalker in Kamysh’s work

Marketing Information

  • Featured in Library JournalNew York Times “Globetrotting,” and Publishers Weekly.