Tuesday, 29 July 2008


AUTHOR: Dervla Murphy


DATE READ: July 2008

NOTES: Having some very fond memories of her first book, Full Tilt, I decided to read one of Dervla Murphy’s more recent books. This journey takes her into Siberia and although she travels with a bicycle she covers great distances by train.

She obviously brings out the best in the people she meets as she is continually being assisted by folk along the way. Despite a series of accidents and mishaps she carries on regardless – her positivity is to be applauded. She meets many interesting people as she travels and describes well the towns and villages in post-Communist Siberia and the constant conflict of the stable but repressive past and the instable and corrupt and uncertain present.

The bits I liked best were her description of the Lake Baikal and of the BAM railway (and the towns and people that were associated with it)

The history of the region, the church and the people, are continually brought up. I found myself skimming much of this as it did not really fit in well with what should have been a travel narrative. It felt very much like “padding” – as if she had looked it all up on the web when she had returned home!

Very often when I read a travel book I have an urge to visit the place written about – but not in this case!

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