travels in siberia

In Russian, the word–Sibir’–is pure onomatopoeia. A shiver begins with the first letter and concludes with the palatalized r at the end, which, combined with the bi preceding it, amounts to brrr. Only a cosmic Dickens of place-naming would have chosen a name with such a chilly and mysterious sound. And yet Sibir’, so resonant in Russian, is not of Russian provenance, but whispers of deepest Asia.

Currently reading Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, the stories of travelers past and Frazier’s own experience exploring the vast region (image via).

4 responses to “travels in siberia

  1. whispering that word a loud also sends shivers down my spine. what an elegant break down of a word! planning my own trip across siberia, for next winter. everyone says, ‘girl-you crazy’ to trek across russia in the winter. but to me, there seems no other time to experience an authentic siberia.

    • How exciting! That sounds like an amazing, albeit cold, adventure. I remember a friend from northern Canada saying that the task of surviving together really builds a sense of community during the winter. When you spot someone else outside when its -30, there is an instant bond of ‘Yeah, we’re both in this together’. I can imagine that is amplified by the expanse and intensity of winter in Siberia. I can’t wait to hear the stories you return with.

  2. Siberia…How many tears have fallen to its ground and souls toughened by regime and natural adversity stood up to shine in literature and Faith.

    I think of all the Siberia books and articles my favorite so far is by a former NPR correspondent who hitchhiked across Russia from Siberia to Moscow. The images conjured and the cultural and historical observations ring with me today.
    “Siberian Dawn ” Jeffrey Tayler.

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