Ian Frazier began writing for The New Yorker in 1974 and has contributed fiction, Talk of the Town, humor, and reporting pieces. His books include the humor collections "Dating Your Mom" and "Lamentations of the Father"; the historical narrative "Great Plains," which grew out of a three-part series for the magazine; and "Gone to New York: Adventures in the City." A new book, "Travels in Siberia," comes out in October; parts of it first appeared in The New Yorker.
David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker.
Ian Frazier has been writing for The New Yorker since 1974. His most recent book is "Travels in Siberia."
David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker. He is the author of several books, including "Lenin's Tomb," which won the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award, and "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama."
New Yorker humorist Ian Frazier describes the various hardships of travelling outdoors through swampy Siberia, including mosquitoes "like they were shot at you from a fire hose." "The food had a lot of mosquitoes in it," recalls Frazier, but "after a while you would just eat it anyway."
Region, north-central Asia, largely in Russia. It extends from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean to central Kazakhstan and the boundaries of China and Mongolia; it covers more than 5,000,000 sq mi (13,000,000 sq km). It is notorious for the length and severity of its almost snowless winters. Temperatures of -90 °F (-68 °C) have been recorded. The first settlers probably arrived in southern Siberia in the Paleolithic Period. The area was under Chinese influence from c. 1000 BC, followed by the Turkic-Mongols in the 3rd century BC. Russian trappers and Cossack explorers (seeCossacks) colonized it in the late 16th century, and by the mid-18th century most of Siberia was under Russian rule. It was connected to other parts of Russia by the Trans-Siberian Railroad. Eastern Siberia was the scene of the anti-Bolshevik government of Aleksandr Kolchak (191820). It was made part of the Russian S.F.S.R. in 1922. Russia exiled criminals and political prisoners there, and in the 1930s Joseph Stalin set up forced-labour camps that fueled industrial growth. When Russian factories were relocated there during World War II, it played an important role in the war effort. It has deposits of coal, petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, iron ore, and gold; its chief industrial products include steel, aluminum, and machinery. Southern Siberia produces wheat, rye, oats, and sunflowers. Its main cities include Novosibirsk, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk.
This is a great program for fans of travel writing. Siberia seems like one of the more unique environments on Earth, with an equally unique history. Frazier's take on it is insightful and touching. And yes, he's also pretty funny.
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