The Amur River

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What to expect

** SHORTLISTED FOR THE WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2021 **

Brought to you by Penguin.

A dramatic and ambitious new journey for our greatest travel writer

The Amur River is almost unknown. Yet it is the tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific. For 1,100 miles it forms the tense border between Russia and China. Haunted by the memory of land-grabs and unequal treaties, this is the most densely fortified frontier on earth.

In his eightieth year, Colin Thubron takes a dramatic journey from the Amur’s secret source to its giant mouth, covering almost 3,000 miles. Harassed by injury and by arrest from the local police, he makes his way along both the Russian and Chinese shores, starting out by Mongolian horse, then hitchhiking, sailing on poacher’s sloops or travelling the Trans-Siberian Express. Having revived his Russian and Mandarin, he talks to everyone he meets, from Chinese traders to Russian fishermen, from monks to indigenous peoples. By the time he reaches the river’s desolate end, where Russia’s nineteenth-century imperial dream petered out, a whole, pivotal world has come alive.

The Amur River is a shining masterpiece by the acknowledged laureate of travel writing, an urgent lesson in history and the culmination of an astonishing career.

© Colin Thubron 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • A miraculous late-style masterpiece, the equal of any of [Thubron’s] earlier works, which will cement his reputation as one of our greatest prose writers in any genre… The Amur River is not just a literary triumph in itself, it is also a demonstration of the continued power of great travel writing

    Daily Telegraph
  • A fascinating read packed with curiosities and incident

    The Times
  • Thubron’s journey makes for a gripping read…with fascinating political insight

    Sunday Times
  • Excellent… Thubron’s observations are perceptive and lightly delivered

    Literary Review
  • [Thubron] summons both landscape and people with nuanced sensitivity… Here is a writer at the top of his game, one from whom those toiling on the lower slopes have much to learn

    Spectator

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