Valentin Rasputin--one of the most gifted and influential Russian prose writers of the past thirty years--offers a sweeping account of and penetrating reflection on the Russians' four hundred years of experience in Siberia. Beginning with Yermak, whose Cossacks crossed into Siberia in the 1580s, through the rapid Russian exploration, conquest, and colonialization, to today, Rasputin reveals the peculiarities of the Siberians, studying the gap between dreams and reality that has plagued Russians in Siberia for centuries.
"Rasputin's work opens up to the reader a land and a people who are, on the one hand, cruel, harsh, and cold as a Siberian winter and, on the other hand, as tender, warm, and gentle as a Siberian spring." —Choice
"[Rasputin's] books are full of real people with real human conflicts." —Library Journal
"Rasputin is the kind of writer of whom Chekhov, that most sensible of all Russian writers, would have approved—a man linked to the soil through its people, apolitical without being nihilistic, profoundly humane." —The Christian Science Monitor