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  • Location: Russia, Siberia Taiga

The Archipelago of Another Life

The Archipelago of Another Life

Why a Booktrail?

1950s: A tense “Siberian Western” set in the inhospitable, boundless Russia taiga at the height of the Cold War

  • ISBN: 978-0857057938
  • Translator: Geoffrey Strachan
  • Genre: Translated Fictioin

What you need to know before your trail

On the far eastern borders of the Soviet Union, in the sunset of Stalin’s reign, soldiers are training for a war that could end all wars, for in the atomic age man has sown the seeds of his own destruction.

Among them is Pavel Gartsev, a reservist. Orphaned, scarred by the last great war and unlucky in love, he is an instant victim for the apparatchiks and ambitious careerists who thrive within the Red Army’s ranks.

Assigned to a search party composed of regulars and reservists, charged with the recapture of an escaped prisoner from a nearby gulag, Gartsev finds himself one of an unlikely quintet of cynics, sadists and heroes, embarked on a challenging manhunt through the Siberian taiga.

But the fugitive, capable, cunning and evidently at home in the depths of these vast forests, proves no easy prey. As the pursuit goes on, and the pursuers are struck by a shattering discovery, Gartsev confronts both the worst within himself and the tantalising prospect of another, totally different life.

Travel Guide

Travel to the wild and remote Siberia

1950’s Russia.

A small group of military men are hastily assembled and given a very important mission. They are given the job of tracking down and capturing an escaped convict. They don’t expect to be working more than a few days on this job, but then this is the wildest part of the wildest and most remote part of the Siberia if not the world…

This journey is seen through the eyes of one of the group, Pavel Gartsev. He narrates the time, place, setting, emotions and everything that happens along the way:

“Walking in the Taiga is only a matter of speaking. In reality you have to pass through it with the suppleness of a swimmer. Anyone who tire to thrust, smash and force a path through it quickly exhausts himself, reveals his presence and ends up loathing all those waves of tree branches, heather and brushwood as they break over him.”

The vocabulary of the forest:

“Some unaccustomed plants, some unfamiliar profiles of hills and valleys, but the same traces of animals, the same signs indicating various types of soil.”

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Archipelago of Another Life

Destination :  Russia, Siberia    Author/Guide: Andreï Makine Departure Time: 1950s

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