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BKMT READING GUIDES
Travels in Siberia
by Ian Frazier
Paperback : 560 pages
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New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2010
A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2010
A San Francisco Chronicle Top 10 Books of 2010
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A Kansas City Star 100 Best Books of 2010
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best of 2010
In this astonishing new work from one of our greatest and most entertaining storytellers, Ian Frazier trains his perceptive, generous eye on Siberia. With great passion and enthusiasm, he reveals Siberia's role in history?its science, economics, and politics?and tells the stories of its most famous exiles, such as Dostoyevsky, Lenin, and Stalin. At the same time, Frazier draws a unique portrait of Russia since the end of the Soviet Union, and gives a personal account of adventure among Russian friends and acquaintances. A unique, captivating, totally Frazierian take on what he calls the ?amazingness? of Russia?Travels in Siberia is ?a masterpiece of nonfiction writing?tragic, bizarre, and funny? (San Francisco Chronicle).
Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: Over 20 years after Great Plains, one of the more oddly wonderful books of the last few decades, Ian Frazier takes us to another territory worthy of his expansive curiosity: the vast eastern stretches of Russia known as Siberia. Through the stories of Russian friends, Frazier was drawn there in the early '90s, and he soon fell in love with the country--an "embarrassing" sort of middle-aged love, an involuntary infection. What he loves is its tragedy and its humor, its stoic practicality and its near-insanity: he calls it "the greatest horrible country in the world," and Siberia is its swampy, often-frozen, and strikingly empty backyard. He took five trips there over the next dozen or so years, and Travels in Siberia is based on those journeys. But as in Great Plains, when Frazier travels he follows his own curiosity through time as well as space, telling stories of the Mongols and the Decembrists with the same amused and empathetic eye he brings to his own traveling companions. His curiosity quickly becomes yours, as does his affection for this immense and grudgingly hospitable land. --Tom Nissley
Editorial ReviewNo editorial review at this time.
Officially, there is no such place as Siberia. No political or territorial entity has Siberia as its name. In atlases, the word “Siberia” hovers across the northern third of Asia unconnected to any place in particular, as if designating a zone or a condition; it seems to show through like a watermark on the page. During Soviet times, revised maps erased the name entirely, in order to discourage Siberian regionalism. Despite this invisibility, one can assume that Siberia’s traditional status as a threat did not improve. ... view entire excerpt...
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