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Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age

Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age (Trade Paperback / Paperback)

By Wheeler, Sara

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To write this book award-winning writer Sara Wheeler travelled across eight time zones in Russia, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields and far-eastern Arctic tundra where Chukchi still hunt walrus to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus.

ISBN 9780224098021
Barcode 9780224098021
Published 8 July 2019 by Vintage
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (3 other possible title(s) available)
Availability
Indent title (sourced internationally), usually ships 4-6 weeks post release/order

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780224098021
ISBN-10 0224098020
Stock Available
Status Indent title (sourced internationally), usually ships 4-6 weeks post release/order
Publisher Vintage
Imprint Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publication Date 8 July 2019
International Publication Date 4 July 2019
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Wheeler, Sara
Category Literary Studies: General
Novels, Other Prose & Writers
Travel Writing
Number of Pages 304
Dimensions Width: 153mm
Height: 234mm
Spine: 22mm
Weight 372g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Russia Federation - Description and travel
NBS Text Travel Writing
ONIX Text General/trade
Dewey Code 914.704864
Catalogue Code 1008819

Description of this Book

To write this book award-winning writer Sara Wheeler travelled across eight time zones in Russia, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields and far-eastern Arctic tundra where Chukchi still hunt walrus to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus. Her guides were the writers of the Golden Age, Pushkin to Tolstoy via Gogol and Turgenev (broadly, the period between 1800 and 1910). Mostly, on her travels, she used homestays, spending many months in fourth-floor 1950s apartments with windowless bathrooms, sprawled on sofas with her hosts, watching television, her new friends bent over devices and moaning about Ukraine. She wrote Mud and Stars at a time of deteriorating relations between the West and Russia. Nationalism has besieged the country. People she stayed with or met on trains had no illusions about the kleptocracy under which they lived, but as they watched flickering images of Putin bending a piece of metal with his bare hands, the reprise was always, `Yes, he's a monster. But he's our monster.' In these pages Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news - a Russia of common humanity and daily struggles. Her aim is to show how the writers of the Golden Age represent their country, then and now. In doing so she resolved to give the `ordinary' people of Russia - a country that occupies one sixth of the earth's land surface - a voice. Wheeler followed nineteenth-century footsteps in order to make connections between then and now, between the places where flashing-epauletted Lermontov died in the aromatic air of Pyatigorsk and sheaves of corn still stand like soldiers on a blazing afternoon, just like they do in Gogol's stories. On the Trans-Siberian in winter she crunched across snowy platforms to buy dried fish from babushki, and in summer sailed the Black Sea where dolphins leapt in front of violet Abkhazian peaks. There is a Russian literal landscape, and its emotional counterpart. Mud and Stars explores both.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review [A] literary romp in the footsteps of [Russia's big beast 19th-century] writers - which does not skimp on detail or seriousness... I approached this book thinking that it would be - along with Elif Batuman's The Possessedand Viv Groskop's The Anna Karenina Fix - the third in a recent hattrick of women's journeys through Russian literature. Wheeler goes beyond these books by travelling to the backwaters of Russia so that we don't have to - we can continue to travel in the comfort of our armchair through the pages of the masterpieces that the great writers left behind. * The Times *
UK Review Bertrams Star Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)

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Author's Bio

Sara Wheeler's travel books include Terra Incognita- Travels in Antarctica (1997), The Magnetic North- Travels in the Arctic (2010) and Access All Areas- Selected Writings 1990-2010 (2011). She has also written biographies of Apsley Cherry-Garrard and Denys Finch Hatton, and O My America!, about women who travelled to America in the nineteenth century.

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