Lost Cosmonaut by Daniel Kalder
Observations of an Anti-Tourist

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Synopsis

Daniel Kalder belongs to a unique group: the anti-tourists. Sworn to uphold the mysterious tenets of The Shymkent Declarations, the anti-tourist seeks out the dark, lost zones of our planet, eschewing comfort, embracing hunger and hallucinations, and always traveling at the wrong time of year. In Lost Cosmonaut, Kalder visits locations that most of us don't even know exist -- Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia. He loves these places because no one else does, because everyone else passes them by.

A tale of adventure, conversation, boredom, and observation -- occasionally enhanced by an overactive imagination -- Kalder reveals a world of hidden cities, lost rites, mail-order brides, machine guns, mutants, and cold, cold emptiness. In the desert wastelands of Kalmykia, he stumbles upon New Vasyuki, the only city in the world dedicated to chess. In Mari El, home to Europe's last pagan nation, he meets the chief Druid and participates in an ancient rite; while in the bleak industrial badlands of Udmurtia, Kalder searches for Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, and inadvertently becomes a TV star. An unorthodox mix of extraordinary stories woven together with fascinating history, peculiar places, and even stranger people, Lost Cosmonaut is poetic and profane, hilarious and yet oddly heartwarming, bizarre and even educational. In short, it's the perfect guide to the most alien planet in our cosmos: Earth.
 

About Daniel Kalder

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Daniel Kalder was born in Scotland in 1974. He lived in the former Soviet Union for ten years, applying himself to various trades, although he never sold arms or human organs. The author of the acclaimed Lost Cosmonaut, he now lives in Austin, Texas.
 
Published August 29, 2006 by Scribner. 290 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Lost Cosmonaut

The Guardian

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Lost Cosmonaut: Travels to the Republics That Tourism Forgot by Daniel Kalder 224pp, Faber, £12.99 Have you heard of the Republic of Mari El?

Mar 25 2006 | Read Full Review of Lost Cosmonaut: Observations ...

The Bookbag

I felt the book gained a lot from the fact that instead of a professional travel writer, Kalder is just a writer who travels: this added a certain twist to all the tales, a different take on the situations and a unique voice through which to describe them all.

Nov 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Lost Cosmonaut: Observations ...

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