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In Siberia (BBC Radio 4) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 2 Oct 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, 2 Oct 2000
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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (2 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563477083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563477082
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,742,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


?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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Colin Thubron is an acknowledged master of travel writing. His first books were about the Middle East Damascus, Lebanon, and Cyprus. In 1982 he traveled in the Soviet Union, pursued by the KGB. From these early experiences developed his great travel books on the landmass that makes up Russia and Asia: Among the Russians; Behind the Wall: A Journey through China; The Lost Heart of Asia; In Siberia; and most recently, Shadow of the Silk Road.

Colin Thubron is an award-winning novelist as well as, arguably, the most admired travel writer of our time. He lives in London. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"In Siberia" is Thubron's painstakingly bleak account of a journey across the cold, oddly unknown region of Siberia. He begins his assessment of post-Soviet Russia at the Ural Mountains, and travels slowly west, following broadly the route of the trans-Siberian railway. His account is one of enduring struggle, against both the cold (in Dudinka, where the River Yenisei meets the Arctic Ocean, houses must be build on concrete pillars, otherwise the heat exerted by the foundations will melt the permafrost that lingers just a few feet beneath the ground, and cause the building to subside), and the economic collapse that has followed the collapse of communism. For most of those he meets, it is the everyday necessities of survival - food and warmth - that form the focus of their lives.
In parts, one can sense a fond yearning for the days of the Soviet Republic - when the collective farms functioned properly, with working tractors, to produce food for all. Now the mechanics of such planned economies have disintegrated, prices have spiralled upwards, the savings of the old have been rendered worthless and the young have little enthusiasm, other than to leave. Despite this, some do still find space to find hope, perhaps in the renaissance of forgotten religions, or perhaps simply in some strained, optimistic view of the future.
Throughout the book the shadow of the Gulag, the Soviet labour camp, lingers. Throughout Stalin's reign, criminals, political opponents, or simply those that were deemed to be a threat, were sent to the bleak wastes of Siberia for imprisonment.
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By A Customer on 17 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
His writing is often so lovely I turn the page back just to read it again (doesn't happen often). Sometimes it wants to be poetic but is oblique and impenetrable. But the man can write far, far better than most. I spent three months in Siberia and I recognise all his characters, he conveys the desperation of the place beautifully, the shabbiness, but also the pride and the physical dimensions. Towards the end, the travel writing framework got wearying - not another priest drinking in a hut - but then he delivers the final chapter, which is superb and shocking and serene, and he is forgiven the slight tediousness or tiredness leading up to it. And for once, a travel writer who speaks the language of the country he/she is visiting, and doesn't pretend to by neglecting to mention translators. All in all, readable and memorable and a far cry from sunday supplement travel puffery.
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Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book. Once again, Colin Thubron manages to unlock a hitherto unknown part of the world to his readers. His eloquence makes one feel as if one was there with him. His description of the Stalin Gulags was so horrific that it was almost unbearable to read. The cruelty of the country and the desperate sadness - or perhaps confusion - of the people is tangible. One aches for them and with them. No book could better bring to life this country which embodies so much of the history of the once mighty Soviet Union and which was once locked away from the rest of the world. It is a must.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating insight into the people and cultures of the diverse geographical regions within this huge landmass. The enormity of the place strikes you, as does its stark beauty; its hostility and emptiness; and the vacuum left by the demise of communism. The author mixes rich landscape descriptions with studies of people and their precarious livelihoods. He explores the blight of industrialization on virgin landscapes; the imposition of collective farms on rural communities; Stalin's Great Terror; the efforts of fractured communities to rebuild post-Communist lives and their long lost belief systems; and the ethnic tensions between indigenous people and outsiders.
It's a magnificent, sprawling book, as befits its subject matter, though readers who are less religiously inclined may find the author's fondness for religious icons and architecture a bit trying at times.
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Format: Paperback
The second half beats the first, and I wondered whether the sheer bleakness of the place had originally gotten the author down. He's at his best describing the monstrous history of the dark and cold eastern leg of his remarkable journey, one that only a Russian speaker could achieve, of course. Don't try this at home.

He likes his similes and metaphors, and if this kind of creative writing lights your fire, then you will like this book. For me, it was occasionally too much. And nowhere does he describe in detail why he embarked on this journey, or whether his expectations were fulfilled. I also struggled to see the joins between chapters - was it one long journey or were there breaks? How long overall was he in the field?

For me, the best travel writing is when it feels that I'm listening to the account delivered by a friend at first hand; with this one, it's as though I'm listening in on someone else's conversation; still good, and worth the time.
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