Much ado on the Eastern front
"Do you feel German, Ukrainian, Russian or Jewish? Or maybe a bit of each?" Filipp Piatov is, as it were, a merge of all these cultures. His Russian father and Ukrainian mother left the Soviet Union as it fell apart around them and Piatov grew up in a small town in Germany. From early on, he pondered the nature of his identity—which country could he truly call home?
In this book, he sets out to explore his family’s homeland; travelling by rail and thumb all the way into the depths of Siberia, he investigates the apparently banal as well as the seemingly grandiose as he goes.
Is it true you get free food on the Trans-Siberian Express? Will home-distilled vodka really make you go blind? Why had he never asked his grandparents how they managed to survive famine and war? Or how the Jews of Russia managed to cling to their faith by their fingernails in a regime that strictly banned religion?
Intimate, intelligent and leavened with youthful high spirits, Filipp Piatov gives us the lowdown on his road trip into the depths of the Russian soul.