Friday, April 01, 2011

Under cover of darkness

I just finished reading The Road of Bones: A Journey to the Dark Heart of Russia

Inspired by the painting Vladimirka Road by Isaak Levitan  Poolman and his friend Max decide to embard on a trip down the Vladimirka Road from Moscow to Siberia. Tracing the route taken by millions of unfortunate people purged by both the Tsars and the Soviets.
Max dies of cancer before the trip, so Poolman embarks on his own, and the book recounts his journey across Russia, interspersed with harrowing accounts of the dissapeared people, and the horrifying stories of lives destroyed by the oppressive regimes in Russia. Interspersed with the history his journey is interspersed with meetings with Russians each of whom has their own story to tell.
It was a really depressing read, though cathartic and moving. It made me feel glad to live in a country which doesn't persecute and march its people off to gulag simply for telling a joke at the expense of the generalissimo.