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Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
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M 50x66
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Apr 28, 2012

it was ok

A travel book by someone who clearly hates to travel. Tempered slightly with self-effacement, his incessant whining and intermittent panic attacks make for a grating journey. By the middle of the book one is left empathizing heavily with his unfortunate guides. He would have been better off learning how to politely toss back a few shots of vodka than his hours spent studiously attempting to learn the Russian language. His autistic obsession with museums and prison camps might have been a source of comedy, if he had the courage to laugh at himself more than once.

That said, I still actually like Ian Frazier. He comes across as very human, and I share much of his passion for the grand story Russia. I somehow finished the entire book (yes, one of my greater moral failings - I finish many things that I never should have started in the first place), and at the end my greatest disdain is reserved for the editor - or for the author for not submitting to one. There was enough material here for a decent book - the publisher just needed to slap Ian in the face a few times to get his creative juices flowing because clearly what might have happened on his travels in siberia would be far more interesting than the dull, unobscured truth.
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