A Dream In Polar Fog
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A Dream In Polar Fog (A Dream in Polar Fog #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  31 reviews
'A Dream in Polar Fog' is a remarkable tale of resilience and reconciliation, set in one of the most majestic and inhospitable environments on Earth.
Paperback, 334 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Telegram (first published 1968)
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Franziska
In Enmyn im hohen russischen Norden legt eines Tages, Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts, ein Schiff an, das vom Packeis getrieben und festgesetzt vorerst keine Chance hat, wieder auf Fahrt gehen zu können. Nach einigen Tagen wachsender Ungeduld bessert sich schließlich die Wetterlage. Um endgültig freizukommen wird John, einer der Matrosen, losgeschickt, um Sprengungen durchzuführen und so eine Fahrtrinne zu haben. Und dabei geschieht das Unglück: John wird stark verletzt, insbesondere an den Händen....more
Cody
In trying to place this wonderful text on one of my Goodreads shelves, I was pleased to discover that it doesn't exactly fit anywhere (I settled for "Russia" on geographical terms, but that's completely arbitrary). That's be cause A Dream in Polar Fog is kind of about everything--at least more so than most books I've read that have been given such a label.

On the surface, it's an engrossing travel tale about John MacLennan, a novice Canadian explorer that finds himself marooned amongst the Chukc...more
Ilya
The year is 1910. A Canadian trading ship got stuck in ice off the coast of Chukotka, just south of Wrangel Island, next to a Chukchi settlement. An inexperienced sailor, a fresh graduate of the University of Toronto looking for adventure, tries to dynamite the ice away, but a dynamite stick explodes near his hands and mangles them. The captain persuades two local Chukchi hunters to drive him to the Russian doctor in Anadyr on a dogsled, promising a big reward. However, at the first layover they...more
Tim
A Dream in Polar Fog tells the story of how an outsider, Canadian John MacLennan, comes to live with, and gradually become part of, a settlement of indigenous Chukchi people living on the Arctic coast of Siberia, during the years 1910-1917. Yuri Rytkheu, himself Chukchi, uses the outsider MacLennan as our introduction to the life of the Chukchi, and to the encroaching threats that Western ships and Western ways pose to their way of life and their hunting grounds.[return][return]MacLennan is forc...more
Tim
A Dream in Polar Fog tells the story of how an outsider, Canadian John MacLennan, comes to live with, and gradually become part of, a settlement of indigenous Chukchi people living on the Arctic coast of Siberia, during the years 1910-1917. Yuri Rytkheu, himself Chukchi, uses the outsider MacLennan as our introduction to the life of the Chukchi, and to the encroaching threats that Western ships and Western ways pose to their way of life and their hunting grounds.[return][return]MacLennan is forc...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean McLachlan
People often say when they enjoy a book that they're sorry when it's over. I rarely say that because I'm always anticipating the next book I'll read!
With this historical novel, however, I really was sorry when it was over because I doubt I'll ever read a book like it again.
The author, Yuri Rytkheu, grew up in a traditional Chukchi settlement in Siberia in the early 20th century when that way of life was already fast disappearing. He wrote this novel in 1968.
The story follows a Canadian sailor wh...more
Russell
I’ve had the treat of just returning to Yuri Rythkheu’s novel A Dream in Polar Fog (trans. Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse; Archipelago Books, 2005) to teach it in my class this semester. If it were just an adventure story, one would not expect the book to have been published by a press with Archipelago’s literary credentials. And indeed, while plot is what drives the book forward, local color gives it depth. Add a dose of historical fiction, and the novel lopes briskly along on three legs without the ne...more
Theresa Mannix
May 20, 2007 Theresa Mannix rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a cold book on a hot day
An early 20th-century Canadian adventurer named John MacLennan finds himself stranded in a small Chukchi community in far northeastern Siberia. This small Arctic fishing and hunting community takes him in, cares for him and eventually embraces him. It's a wonderful and beautiful story of cross-cultural differences and acceptance. But there are certainly the inevitable dramatic confrontations, heart-breaking disasters and ugly cultural clashes.
Who has even heard of the Chukchi? The novel capture...more
Danceheap
The book didn't grab me immediately and some translation mistakes also grated a bit, but as the story developed, and the characters too, I was drawn into the snowy, cold, meat-filled (as a vegetarian!) and precarious life of the Chukchi. I found it a book that really grounds, a reminder of what life is really about. I loved the clash between John and various characters in the book with different opinions/attitudes - and it was often not just a straight clash of different cultures. The story is f...more
Guy
I have to give it 4 even though it is a marvellous book.

The characters are beautiful and full, the landscape and era are so vividly drawn you don't need to know the place to live it. It is full of emotions and small details that make you love and live with the different characters. I was reading the book bit by bit, a chapter or two a day, always straggling to keep something for tomorrow. I kept thinking about the situation and finding similarity to my own daily life, lines to be drawn and idea...more
Josie
An amazing peak into Chukchi culture, and a view of western society from a native perspetive. Starting around 1912, set in the polar regions of the Russian empire, a young Canadian becomes stranded in a Chukchi village. This is the story of his evolving view of the lifestyle and people he comes to live with.

Very horizon-broadening, worthwhile read, but not a "pants-on-fire, can't put this down!" pace.
Andrew Bourne
I love the Chukchi arctic materials--walrus leather, whale bone, fur, boiled nerpa... I even like how the adventure genre gives way almost entirely to melodrama, but a good deal of the storytelling is dealt with too heavy a hand. I wish it were a bit more dreamy and ambiguous, more spacious for the reader. I feel patronized when the author really leans on interpreting his own scenes.
Nicole
I found this very interesting book at the Mary Styles Library. A tale of survival of an American sailor who loses his hands and is abandoned by his ship, he is adopted by a tribe of Russian indigenous people related to the Eskimos. This tale is very detailed and describes a hard life of subsistence living in the arctic. Although a bit dated, it was still a fascinating read.
Louise
This was a fascinating story of arctic aborigines and an explorer who ends up living and becoming a part of their lives in early 20th century. It is beautifully written, lyrical, thoughtful and gripping, really making you think of how we live and what is important. It was written many years ago but only recently translated from Russian.
Jgknobler
Jack London meets Margaret Mead in this charming novel, set in the Arctic in 1910. An American white man is left to make a life among the indigenous hunters of the north when he loses his hands in an explosion. Best read in the comfort of one's warm bed.
Kathy
I enjoyed this story, though it ended unexpectedly-like a couple of chapters short. I appreciated the quality of the translation and would recommend it to people who like stories about the outdoors as well as about relationships.
Karen
I can't stop thinking about this book. The language is beautiful, the story is compelling, and it really provided some amazing insights about culture, survival, nature, community, the environment, and what makes life worth living.
Rachel
What a gorgeous book! I've been obsessed with finding good historical fiction that is part anthropology and partly an eye into indigenous cultures around the world. The descriptions are fascinating and wondrous.
Anastasia
This was an excellent book, providing the reader a glimpse of the life of the Chukchi people of the Artic, and of one white man's journey of coming to be their equals.
Bryn Hammond
Bought as a follow-up to his The Chukchi Bible
Don
A Canadian lives among the maritime Chuckchi circa 1910. Interesting ethnography but the protagonist comes off as a bit platitudinous.
Susan Gardner
A beautiful book elegantly produced by Archipelago Books. Interesting story told with strong and often poetic language.
Mecca
You know those books that make you feel a sense of lose when you are done with them? This was one.
Dan Bob
I should probably quit reading so many polar books. This one is sweet though.
Heather
I would like to give the book 3.5 stars, to be more precise.
Linda Michel-Cassidy
Fantastic, if you like meandering (I do) and snow.
Edna
One of my favorite of not just this year--many years!!
Lori
...continuing with my obsession with the Arctic.
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