A few years it became possible, for this first time, for a foreigner to travel Siberia almost at will. This is the account of Thubron's 15, 000-mile journey through this astonishing country - one twelfth of the land surface of the whole earth. He journeyed by train, river and truck among the people most damaged by the breakup of the Soviet Union, traveling among Buddhists and animists, radical Christian sects, reactionary Communists and the remnants of a so-call Jewish state; from the site of the last Czar's murder and Rasputin's village, to the ice-bound graves of ancient Sythians, to Baikal, deepest and oldest of the world's lakes. This is the story of a people moving through the ruins of Communism into more private, diverse and often stranger worlds.
The book is fantastic.
It took quite a long time for me not to be irritated by the" Rrrahshyan ektsents" adopted throughout by the reader, however. I'd have preferred their voices to simply be a change in the narrator's voice, not a poorly done foreign accent. I'd have preferred it if the reader had researched (or been coached) on the proper pronunciation of place- and personal- names instead.
But a great book.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Fantastic book. I can't believe I'd never heard of Colin Thubron until I listened to his last audio book The Silk Road. Colin Thubron is a superb travel writer who gets into the culture of where he is travelling.
This book can be a bit depressing at times when he describes just how cruel a time Siberia has suffered - especially under the rule of Stalin and the Gulags.
This is real travel writing that just doesn't highlight the beauty but also describes the darker sides.
Where does In Siberia rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Highly entertaining yet hugely informative
What other book might you compare In Siberia to, and why?
Many other books on Russia deal with European western Russia, this is the great North Asia opened up to us.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
Thubron's ability to make contacts and friendships with Russians gives him a unique access to this otherwise alien culture
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Thubron is searching for the centre of other people's faith, does he ever find it?
Any additional comments?
Stephen Thorne's reading is masterly. The conversation sections amount to a vivid dramatization.