Kolyma Diaries by Jacek Hugo-Bader
A Journey into Russia's Haunted Hinterland

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...Hugo-Bader extracts brilliant tales from the extraordinary characters he meets...along the way. The result is a staggering, eye-opening account of a hellish region...
-Financial Times

Synopsis

From the author of the award-winning White Fever, Kolyma Diaries is an excursion into one of the world's last remaining badlands, a place full of Gulag ghosts and living wrecks. All along the 2000 kilometres of the Kolyma highway, Bader is plied with vodka. He hears mesmerizing, sometimes devastating, tales of the journeys that brought his 'fellow travellers', the people who give him lifts, to this benighted land. This is a book about the descendants of prisoners eking out a living, of conmen and veterans and scrap iron dealers, of corrupt politicians and organised crime. Stories are told of sons given away, husbands who reappear after three decades, scholars who now survive by foraging for mushrooms and berries, sculptors who hoard the heads lopped off statues of Lenin, miners who dig up mass graves while looking for gold, and all the addicts, convicts, fallen heroes and even sportsmen who run away from their troubles and end up in the most remote region in Russia.
 

About Jacek Hugo-Bader

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Born in 1957, Jacek Hugo-Bader is a Polish journalist for the leading daily paper, Gazeta Wyborcza. An unconventional traveller, he has biked across Central Asia, the Gobi Desert, China and Tibet, and has kayaked across Lake Baikal. His journey by jeep from Moscow to Vladivostok in the winter of 2007 is described in his last book, White Fever...Antonia Lloyd-Jones' translations include work by Jacek Hugo-Bader, Artur Domoslawski, and Jacek Dehnel. She won the Found in Translation Award 2008 for her translation of Pawel Huelle's The Last Supper, and again in 2013 for having seven translations published in a single year. She is a mentor for the British Centre for Literary Translation's mentorship programme.
 
Published February 2, 2017 by Portobello Books. 368 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel.
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Critic reviews for Kolyma Diaries
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Kapka Kassabova on Apr 03 2014

In 36 days, he meets an extraordinary succession of other poputchiki, and shares lorry cabins, dire rooms and frozen water buckets with them. The narrative is fuelled by diesel, vodka and tears; Hugo-Bader avoids sentimentality, and has a talent for unearthing grubby human stories and extracting gold from them.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Carl Wilkinson on Apr 11 2014

...Hugo-Bader extracts brilliant tales from the extraordinary characters he meets...along the way. The result is a staggering, eye-opening account of a hellish region...

Read Full Review of Kolyma Diaries: A Journey int... | See more reviews from Financial Times

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