CRF Blog

Travels in Siberia

by Bill Hayes

The New York Times Book Review has written a rave review of Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier, saying that his book “peels away Russia’s stolid veneer to reveal the quirkiness and humanity beneath.” From the review:

Eventually, the Russian scent enticed him back on a far more ambitious adventure: a trans-Siberian journey in a used Renault delivery van. Accompanied by a pair of raffish guides, Sergei and Volodya, Frazier set out from St. Petersburg and traveled east. He forded giant rivers, waded through piles of trash, overnighted in mosquito-plagued campgrounds and met scientists, poets, scuba divers, sales ladies and many, many others whom fate had tossed to the far end of the Russian frontier. The Renault broke down repeatedly, beginning on Day 1, when “the speedometer needle, which had been fluttering spasmodically, suddenly lay down on the left side of the dial and never moved again.” The two guides came to exemplify a very Russian mix of unreliability and resourcefulness, gregariousness and gloom — miraculously repairing the dying van, then disappearing to party all night with the locals.

Below Frazier briefly talks about his book.