October 13, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Travels in Siberia

Current Status
In Season
Ian Frazier
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Nonfiction, Travel
We gave it an A-

Siberia isn’t a place that gets much love: The expansive Russian territory is known more as a prison-camp hub than a destination spot. But Ian Frazier, who demonstrated his devotion to wide-open spaces in Great Plains, has nothing but affection for that sparse landscape, penning a mash note to the world’s synonym for brutality on Travels in Siberia. He observes at the start of the cross-continental journey that ”travel, like much else in life, can be more fun to read about than to do.” This holds true here: While the hand- and mind-numbing trip through geographic purgatory couldn’t have been a joy, the humor and genuine awe Frazier injects into his depictions are the stuff of a great vicarious vacation. A?

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