To explain how he embarked on Travels in Siberia, and how he stuck with it over sixteen years and multiple trips to Russia, Frazier invokes an infectious condition he calls "Russia-love." When he steps off the plane in Moscow for the first time he sees a sign labeled "Exit" with an arrow pointing to the left. He goes left, and meets with a soldier pointing him back the way he came:
"I was thoroughly stunned. Love, with an assist from novelty, had blindsided me. I had been overcome, lost permanently. This kind of thing happens to people in middle age, I realize. It's embarrassing. The feeling began the minute I stepped off the plane, with the absurd business of the exit sign and the correcting soldier."
The craziness of Russia intoxicates Frazier. It's a country that reveres literature and has produced great books; it's also a country where unspeakable horrors have been ...
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