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Mud and Stars

by Sara Wheeler

Mud and Stars Synopsis

A wonderfully original book about contemporary Russia as seen on journeys in search of Pushkin, Tolstoy, Lermontov, Chekhov, Gogol and Turgenev. SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANDFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARD 2020 With the writers of the Golden Age as her guides - Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol and Turgenev, among others - Wheeler travels the length and breadth of Russia to make connections between then and now. On the Trans-Siberian railway, at sail on the Black Sea, or while watching television with her hosts in Soviet apartment blocks, Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news - a Russia of humanity and daily struggles. At a time of deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, Wheeler gives a voice to the 'ordinary' people of Russia and discovers how the writers of the past continue to represent their country today.

Mud and Stars Press Reviews

Wheeler is a determined traveller, roving well beyond the itinerary of tourist Russia... [she has] an insight into a random sample of contemporary Russians - how they live, what they think. The outcome is a book that is enjoyable and enlightening in equal measure. * Tablet * Well informed and independent-minded... [Mud and Stars is] an intelligent inquiry into the human condition itself... Wheeler is also side-splittingly funny in her breaking of taboos. * Times Literary Supplement * The image many westerners have of Russia is an unflattering one, heavy on totalitarianism and repression. Sara Wheeler offers an important corrective. Part literary criticism, part travelogue, her fascinating book... is as enthusiastic and authoritative a guide as one could wish for. * Guardian * [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 * Wheeler's writing is full of...strong detail; her drily witty sentences snap like sushki, the crunchy sugared bread rings Russians east with their coffee. Mud and Stars is a pleasure to read slowly... her modest, ungrand tour, with its rich map of extraordinary writers and ordinary Russians...is far more of an epic than it at first appears. * Daily Telegraph *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780099584131
Publication date: 23rd July 2020
Author: Sara Wheeler
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 304 pages
Categories: Travel writing, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: general,

About Sara Wheeler

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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