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Silverland: A Winter Journey Beyond the…
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Silverland: A Winter Journey Beyond the Urals

by Dervla Murphy

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One can't but help despair when reading this book. The scale of devastation that has been wrought by man on that vast expanse called Sibera through logging, industrial pollution is very heart wrenching. It seems that nothing has gone right for the hapless residents of this erstwhile pristine wilderness. Starting with the conquest by the tsars, the extreme cruelty imposed by Stalin to the degenration witnessed under the Soviet Empire and the current destruction under a mafia controlled sham capitalism.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
One can't but help despair when reading this book. The scale of devastation that has been wrought by man on that vast expanse called Sibera through logging, industrial pollution is very heart wrenching. It seems that nothing has gone right for the hapless residents of this erstwhile pristine wilderness. Starting with the conquest by the tsars, the extreme cruelty imposed by Stalin to the degenration witnessed under the Soviet Empire and the current destruction under a mafia controlled sham capitalism.
  kkhambadkone | Jan 17, 2016 |
Not one of Dervla Murphy's better efforts. She joins both Eric Newby and Laurens van der Post in the list of authors who have failed to make a rail journey in Russia's far east an enjoyable experience. Although Ms Murphy is better researched than either of the other two she fails to get to grips with the country and, like them, descends into writing mainly about its failings. Like them, and many others, she is fascinated to the point of obsession with its immediate Soviet past rather than its long term cultural depths. She deserves some credit though for her perpetual good humour and her social leanings which give her sympathy with ordinary people.

But it's a thin book padded out with long passages of potted history taken from her post-journey research. Which she no doubt discovered she needed when she realised she didn't have much else of note to say. She, along with the other authors, took time to realise that the seeming fantasy of along distance train journey through the Siberian forests is in fact pretty boring. The train goes slowly through mostly unremarkable scenery. Things glanced through the carriage window are fleeting images. It' a diesel powered skate over the surface. Inevitable given her lack of Russian language ability.

Annoying also that Ms Murphy claims as friends the strangers with whom she meets and converses on the train. Worse that she shamelessly imposes on their hospitality to scrounge beds and meals. And eventually irritating that she takes perverse pleasure in doing things the hard way just so that she can feel she has experienced a place as its poorer inhabitants would. Aimlessly taking trams to anonymous suburbs doesn't take her to the real Siberia any more than taking a taxi or a guided tour. ( )
  Steve38 | Jun 8, 2013 |
Murphy is marvellous: unflappable and unafraid of travelling where others wouldn't dare to tread; she is also observant, knowledgable and curious - all qualities you'd expect in an excellent travel writer.
(November 2009) ( )
  Tselja | Jun 16, 2010 |
An interesting account of the writer's travels, mostly by train in Siberia. She is at her best when talking about the people she meets. I must admit I tend to skim over the parts where she explains politics, although there's less of this than in some of her other books. ( )
  Teazle | Mar 24, 2008 |
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Given my destination, Victoria Coach Station seemed an unlikely starting point; I associated it with going home to Lismore (how many times in the past half-century?) via Fishguard-Rosslare on Eurobus service 890.

An odd thing happened as our coach drove slowly along Cologne's Rhine embankment.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0719568293, Paperback)

Journey through the wind-blown snowscapes of Far Eastern Russia with the septuagenarian globetrotter Dervla Murphy in this engaging travelogue. As Murphy travels deeper into the hinterland, she encounters a strange world of lynx and elks, indigenous tribes and shamanism, reindeer broth and taiga-berry pie. The slow-train takes Murphy into relatively untouched regions where she meets a host of colorful and generous characters who enjoy fireside debates bolstered by steaming samovars of sweet tea. Insightful, warm, and original, this is an amazing account of the secrets of Siberia and beyond.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:03 -0400)

'Silverland' charts Dervla Murphy's expedition through the snowscapes of the Russian far east. No stranger to exploration, the intrepid septuagenarian's midwinter journey takes her beyond Siberia to the furthest corners of Russia - areas proximate to Japan, Mongolia and the Arctic Circle.… (more)

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