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In Siberia


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About the Author

Colin Thubron is the author of seven award-winning novels, including To the Last City, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. He is an acknowledged master of travel writing, and his most recent titles include Behind the Wall, winner of the Hawthornden Prize and the Thomas Cook Travel Award; In Siberia, winner of the Prix Bouvier; the New York Times bestseller Shadow of the Silk Road; and To a Mountain in Tibet. In 2010 he became president of the Royal Society of Literature.


From a British travel writer who wins awards and sells lots of books. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Many adventurers plunge into Siberia in search of untrammeled roads or unspoiled grandeur; only a handful bring with them a significant knowledge of the land's history, geology and wildlife. Even rarer are those who relay the experience as magically as does this award-winning author. Thubron (The Lost Heart of Asia) recounts a journey studded with fantastic encounters: in Pokrovskoye, a peasant who claims to be a descendant of Rasputin wrestles with his own identity as he nears the age of the infamous holy man's death; in Omsk, wizened grandmothers talk of skinny-dipping in holy water; in the Pazyryk valley, excavators remove a prince, his concubine and a team of stallions from two and a half millennia of frozen slumber; in Kyzyl, a local shaman places an order for Scottish walrus tusks. The author marvels: "wherever I stopped seemed atypical, as if the essential Siberia could exist only in my absence." In fact, that phantom essence pervades Thubron's journey, which stretches from the site of the grisly murder of the Romanovs to the Far Eastern epicenter of the brutal penal camp system that killed millions of Soviet citizens. More than a report of an inquisitive traveler's adventures, Thubron's account doubles as a haunting elegy to the victims of the bloodshed and hardship that are Siberia's most lasting legacy. Only his tender treatment of Siberia's enchanting characters and extraordinary natural beauty brighten what would be an otherwise dark and desolate path. 4-city Author tour. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

?What a relief after all the cheerful travel books and brave adventure stories! A small human voice that makes the dark woods pulse with magic.?--"Los Angeles Times Book Review?Thubron is a sensitive, observant traveler who clearly respects the Siberians for the hardships they have endured. . . . In Siberia places the region in its historical context, but Thubron's history is never didactic or potted. Above all, Thubron is never a travel bore. . . . Readers may derive a great deal of travel envy from this account of his adventures.?--"New York Times Book Review "Thubron proves again why he is considered one of the most affecting travel writers today with this graphic, melancholy portrait of Siberia. . . . From each locale he pries a nugget--a lasting personal tale or memory he passes to the reader like a gift. . . . Thubron's prose poetry is abrupt, frugal, and glinting. . . . And if Siberia is slippery, what he has caught is treasure enough.?-- "Kirkus Reviews?You might not want to journey to the vast tundra of Siberia, but Colin Thubron takes you there with a lyrical poignancy that paints vivid images in your mind and makes your heart ache. . . . If modern America troubles you, "In Siberia will give you evocative encounters with another world and reason to be grateful for your own.?--"USA Today?Many adventurers plunge into Siberia in search of untrammeled roads or unspoiled grandeur; only a handful bring with them a significant knowledge of the land's history, geology and wildlife. Even rarer are those who relay the experience as magically as does this award-winning author. . . . Only his tender treatment of Siberia's enchanting characters and extraordinary natural beauty brightenwhat would be an otherwise dark and desolate path.?--"Publishers Weekly (starred review)?Thubron's ability to see, feel, analyze, to blend the present and the past, makes "In Siberia more than a travel book. His keen eye, like a great photographer's, sees more than an image; he captures the essence of Siberia.?--"Chicago Tribune?No single book can capture the enormity or the ?otherness? of Siberia, but this one comes close. Thubron's travel books and novels have been widely appreciated for years in Britain, and it's easy to see why. Through language that is alternately exuberant, poetic, and mournful, Thubron evokes the natural beauty of Siberia as well as its despoliation.?--"Booklist (starred review)?In this powerful, final volume of his trilogy on the Asian continent ("Where Nights Are Longest, The Lost Heart of Asia), veteran travel writer Thubron traverses all points of the compass in Russia's vast, sparsely settled Wild East. . . . [His] well-researched, moving account is a testament to the hardships endured by Sibera's people and their ability to turn their backs on history, look to the future, and whistle a hopeful tune.?--"Library Journal?Now comes a third book in this extraordinary series of Russian travelogues. Siberia! . . . Thubron approaches his great theme through language. Page after page contains examples of the exact word needed to convey observation. . . . He wanted to find some unity or shape to human destiny, and he has done so. Fear of Russia is a thing of the past, and pity for the living and the dead instead fills this book with the purpose and beauty of prayer.?--"National Review?A cinematically evocative, often heartbreaking account of one of the world'swildest, loveliest places--and one of its worst vacation destinations.?--"Newsweek?Thubron fuses history with politics, ethnography with geography, cultural anthropology with social psychology to demarcate what Siberia was and is, literally and metaphorically. . . . This challenging, self-contained volume warms to the task of paying tribute to the coldest inhabited place on Earth. . . . Thubron's descriptive authority and all-encompassing breadth are palpable.?--"Houston Chronicle"The journey depicted was lonely and grueling, the writing so fine that it is like a long meditation, with perfect tonality. Besides conveying both the beauty and ugliness of an inknown quadrant of the earth, Thubron employes the travel genre to show us exactly how those in the Gulag suffered. I could never really picture what the Gulag "looked" like until I read this book."-- Ryszard Kapuscinski, Author of "Imperium"A fascinating book! Once again, Colin Thubron has proved his mastery, his unique talent for reaching exceptional places and extraordinary people. Thanks to him we encounter a world which, in its beauty and awe, exceeds our imagination."-- Robert D. Kaplan, author of "Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History?On the short list of great contemporary travel writers . . . Colin Thubron ranks very high.?-- "Boston Sunday Globe?[Thubron] paints a fascinating picture of [Siberia's] culture, wildlife, and natural beauty.? -- "American Way

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