Travels in Siberia

Ian Frazier, Author
Ian Frazier, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $28 (544p) ISBN 978-0-374-27872-4
Hardcover - 529 pages - 978-0-374-27872-4
Paperback - 529 pages - 978-0-312-61060-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-1053-1
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Drawn to what he calls "the incomplete grandiosity of Russia, Frazier's extraordinary work combines personal travelogue with in-depth history and gives readers a firsthand account of a place most will never see: Siberia. After 16 years of research, five trips to Siberia and more to western Russia, Frazier (Lamentations of the Father) recounts his obsession with the inhospitable place that doesn't officially exist: "no political or territorial entity has Siberia in its name." From the Mongol hordes that galloped across the steppes to the Soviet labor camps that killed millions, he intersperses the vast region's history with his own visits. Determined to immerse himself in Russian—and particularly Siberian—culture, Frazier embarks on a drive eastward across the tundra in the summer of 2001, accompanied by two guides. Seeing such sites as Irkutsk, the onetime "Paris of Siberia," Frazier and his companions travel 9,000 miles from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific in five weeks and two days, arriving on September 11. Since he hadn't felt Siberia's renowned bone-chilling cold, Frazier returned for a month in March of 2005, this time starting in the Pacific port of Vladivostok and traveling east to west. Part long-gestating love letter, part historical record of a place shrouded in mystery, this is Frazier at his best. (Oct.)
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