With some of the most gifted writers of the 19th century as her guides—Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol, and Chekhov, among others—Sara Wheeler searches for a Russia not in the news, traveling from northwestern beet fields and the Far Eastern Arctic tundra to the cauldron of nationalities, religions, and languages in the Caucasus. Bypassing most major cities, she goes instead to the places associated with the country's literary masters. Sharing both historical images and contemporary snapshots of the people and places that shaped her journey, Wheeler weaves these writers' lives and works around their historical homes, creating rich portraits of the many diverse Russias from which these writers spoke.
"Wheeler carves a unique portrait of Russia, one informed by a genuine affection for the food, culture, and landscape…. A joyous demonstration of how brilliantly immersive travel writing can be at its very best."—Booklist (starred review)