Americans know so little about Russia, its history, and its people that its always a blessing to find a book that gives readers a fresh perspective on that vast country. This is the story of Laura Williams, who grew up in Colorado and moved to Moscow in 1993, just after the fall of Communism and a time of enormous turmoil in that part of the world. There she met a reknown photographer and naturalist named Igor Shpilenok and began to work with him at the Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve near the eastern border of Russia. While working with Shpilenok and living in the village of Chhukhrai for an entire year, Williams learns about the people in the reqion and how they live.
Williams writes on a very personal level here. While in Russia, she also wrote a series of "letters from the cabin" that you can find online. The book is filled with the life stories of many different villagers, so you get a small taste of the culture as well as their everyday living conditions. And, of course, you learn about the fascinating Bryansk Forest Nature Reserve and its inhabitants as well.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our March, 2008 issue.
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