Living next door to Russia - a cultural encounter with each of its neighbours.
An extraordinary odyssey through the fourteen countries that border Russia today
From North Korea into China, through former Soviet states and breakaway republics in Asia and the Caucasus, crossing the Caspian and Black Seas, northwards to Europe, into the Arctic Circle and through the icy waters of the Northeast Passage, Erika Fatland travels alone and explores the rich, diverse and often dramatic histories and scarred landscapes of these bordering nations.
Along her twenty-thousand-kilometre journey, she meets survivors of interminable wars and indiscriminate deportations, and some communities still nostalgic for Soviet times. She drinks tea with a reindeer nomad in Mongolia and encounters displaced Ingushetians in Kazakhstan; she meets a history professor-turned-tank driver in Ukraine and tours the vestiges of Chernobyl. She hears an extraordinary story of endurance from one of the last survivors of the Minsk Ghetto, and learns that the area of Russia that borders Norway, her own country, is the most polluted place in the world. The Border is the log of an unmatchable journey, and offers vivid portraits of cultures and individuals living at the limits of this dominant land mass.
Shortlisted for the 2020 Edward Stanford/Lonely Planet Debut Travel Writer of the Year Award, Erika Fatland has established herself as a fearless, sharp observer and an outstanding interviewer at the forefront of narrative travel literature.
Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
"The strength of Fatland's book lies in its ability to make history come alive through stories . . . Every chapter is captivating reading" Suddeutsche Zeitung
"Fatland masters the genre to perfection . . . A true delight" Aftenposten
The strength of Fatland's second travel book lies in its ability to make history come alive through stories . . . Well-informed, precise, astute in its restraint, entertaining, balanced and not without the occasional dose of gentle irony - every chapter written by this border-crosser, who doesn't shy away from any ordeal, is captivating reading. - Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Truly a masterly performance . . . The book has so many qualities that it is impossible to mention them all. Fatland masters the genre to perfection . . . The Border transcends all borders. Reading it is a true delight. - Aftenposten
Masterly . . . A Norwegian Marco Polo . . . The lines of force of history become clear thanks to this thorough and well-written book by one of our best and most original young nonfiction authors. - Dagbladet
The Border is like a kinderegg, it is a travel book, a history book, and a biography of people we normally do not hear much about but to whom we become close through Fatland's long Odyssey. - V.G.
Erika Fatland was born in 1983 and studied Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. Her 2011 book, The Village of Angels, was an in situ report on the Beslan terror attacks of 2004 and she is also the author of The Year Without Summer, describing the harrowing year that followed the massacre on Utoya in 2011. She speaks eight languages and lives in Oslo with her husband.