Sure, this book is written in the style of a novell, but Josef Martin Bauer wrote it from tapes that the "Real Clemens Forell" recorded on magnetic tape.
The real Clemens Forell was a man called Cornelius Rost. Other than the book and the film his own Life had not such a happy end. Both the Publisher, Franz Ehrenwirth, who first met Cornelius Rost and the writer Josef Steinbichler, who also met him, discribed him as a "Broken man who was a physical and mental wreck". He insisted on his anonymity for fear of the KGB who were known for assasinating people worldwide. And after all he had commited a crime, in order to survive, by attacking a man and stealing money... And no that was not an invention by J.M. Bauer!!! Only once Cornelius Rost agreed to talk to three British Experts on Siberia (At the time the english translation was released), who wanted to explore if this man had really been where he claimed and they found out that everything he said was accurate up to the smallest detail!!! Only Life itself can "write" such a story that dwarfs classics like the Oddyseey!
Cornelius Rost died in 1983 colourblind due to the lead poisoning of the mining in the Gulag and constantly paranoid, hiding whenever the doorbell rang. The terrible ordeal of his captivity,escape and travelling 8500 miles(!!!!!!!) through some of the most hostile terrain on earth had taken it's toll.