Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia
With the writers of the Golden Age as her guides – Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol and Turgenev, among others – Wheeler travels across eight time zones, from rinsed north-western beetroot fields and far-eastern Arctic tundra to the cauldron of ethnic soup that is the Caucasus. She follows 19th-century footsteps 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 in Gogol’s stories.
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.