This is such a great book - wonderfully evocative of a lost Siberia and its peoples. Dursu is a magical character, and much of the interest in the book centres on him, but there is much else to enjoy. The only reason I've given it 4 rather than 5 stars is that it would have been nice to have a little more detail on the relationship between this text and the original books from which it was extracted (although others may feel differently, and will simply enjoy the text we have). Well done to the publisher for making this available again. And I'd add my voice to those saying that if you enjoy this book, then watch Kurasawa's brilliant (and, like Durso himself, faithful) film.
If you've come to the book via Kurosawa's film you won't be disappointed.
As the film is very much from Arsenyev's point-of-view there is an instant rapport with the author. If anything, the book explains the evolving friendship between the Russian and the Gold better than the film, an advantage of the written medium.
The book is very good on natural history and the similarity of flora and fauna, even to British readers, in the temperate forest. Perhaps the only difficulty in coming from film to book is in creating any picture of Dersu different to the superb performance by Maxim Munzuk in the film.
Not much for critical writing, just know Dersu is one of the most delightful characters I've ever encountered in a book. Arseniev had a real gift for describing nature as well. The fact all this was real makes it even better.