Siberia's story is traditionally one of exiles, penal colonies and unmarked graves. Yet there is another tale to tell. Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos--grand instruments created during the boom years of the nineteenth century, as well as humble, Soviet-made uprights that found their way into equally modest homes. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the westernizing influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos traveled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is testament to noble acts of fortitude by governors, adventurers and exiles. Siberian pianos have accomplished extraordinary feats, from the instrument that Maria Volkonsky, wife of an exiled Decembrist revolutionary, used to spread music east of the Urals, to those that brought reprieve to the Soviet Gulag. That these instruments might still exist in such a hostile landscape is remarkable. That they are still capable of making music in far-flung villages is nothing less than a miracle. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is largely a story of music in this fascinating place, fol-lowing Roberts on a three-year adventure as she tracks a number of different instruments to find one whose history is definitively Siberian. Her journey reveals a desolate land inhabited by wild tigers and deeply shaped by its dark history, yet one that is also profoundly beautiful--and peppered with pianos.
* Shortlisted for the 2021 Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year prize * A critically-acclaimed Sunday Times, Spectator and Independent Book of 2020 * Now with colour photography by Michael Turek 'Richly absorbing... An impressive exploration of Siberia's terrifying past.' Guardian 'Evocative and wonderfully original.' Colin Thubron __________ Siberia's expansive history is traditionally one of exiles, bitter cold and suffering. Yet there is another tale to tell. Dotted throughout this remote and beautiful landscape are pianos created during the boom years of the nineteenth century. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos made the journey into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is remarkable. That they might be capable of making music in such a hostile landscape feels like a miracle. The Lost Pianos of Siberia is an absorbing story about a piano hunt - a quixotic quest through two centuries of Russian history and eight time zones stretching across an eleventh of the world's land surface. It reveals not only an unexpected musical legacy, but profound and brave humanity in the last place on earth you might expect to find it. __________ What readers are saying about The Lost Pianos of Siberia: ***** 'You know a book's good when, on finishing it, you just want to start again.' ***** 'Beautifully written, full of compelling anecdotes celebrating Siberia's extraordinary history.' ***** 'The most unusual and intelligent way to tell a travel story.'
Editorial Rev. Gavan Jennings In Passing: On the ironies of history Michael Kirke Resurrection Now Rev. Donncha Ó hAodha Becoming Platonists Bishop Robert Barron Books reviews Charter Schools and their Enemies Margaret Hickey Mass Exodus: Catholic disaffiliation in Britain and America since Vatican II Rev. Gavan Jennings Prey: Immigration, Islam and the Erosion of Women’s Rights James Bradshaw Stepinac His Life and Times Fr Conor Donnelly The Quest for Community James Bradshaw The Lost Pianos of Siberia Francis Phillips
The Times Nature Book of the Year 2020 Winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award A Finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award 'Remarkable. If only every endangered species had a guardian angel as impassioned, courageous and pragmatic as Jonathan Slaght' Isabella Tree, author of Wilding 'Gripping' Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale Primorye, a remote forested region near to where Russia, China and North Korea meet in a tangle of barbed wire, is the only place where brown bears, tigers and leopards co-exist. It is also home to one of nature's rarest birds, the Blakiston's fish owl. A chance encounter with this huge, strange bird was to change wildlife researcher Jonathan C. Slaght's life beyond measure. This is the story of Slaght's quest to safeguard the elusive owl from extinction. During months-long journeys covering thousands of miles, he has pursued it through its forbidding territory. He has spent time with the Russians who struggle on in the harsh conditions of the taiga forest. And he has observed how Russia's logging interests and evolving fortunes present new threats to the owl's survival. Preserving its habitats will secure the forest for future generations, both animal and human - but can this battle be won? Exhilarating and clear-sighted, Owls of the Eastern Ice is an impassioned reflection on our relationship with the natural world and on what it means to devote one's career to a single pursuit. 'Slaght makes the people, wildlife and landscape of the Russian Far East come alive. I haven't enjoyed a book on remote Russia as much as this since Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia' Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia 'True epic. Powerful, passionate' Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast