The author of this book, a former Moscow bureau chief for NPR, is now co-host of NPR’s Morning Edition. His description of his trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway is very readable and interesting. He focuses, not on the scenery and architecture, but on the lives and thoughts of the Russians whom he interviews. If you’re interested in modern Russian society and in what Russians think about Stalin, Putin, and democracy, or in their hopes for the future, you’ll find Greene’s narrative thought-provoking.
Greene writes about his stay in Moscow, about the experience of traveling on a Russian train, and about places where he stopped along the way, including scenic Lake Baikal and a Russian bathhouse. He interviews Russians young and old, male and female, from a variety of backgrounds, including activists, musicians, a professor, and business people.
One interesting quotation from an interview is that tragedy is “the way the soul of a Russian person is built.” Other Russians in Midnight in Siberia express similar stoic views.
(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)