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A Dream in Polar Fog is at once a cross-cultural journey, an ethnographic chronicle of the Chukchi people, and a politically and emotionally charged Arctic adventure story. It is the story of John MacLennan, a Canadian sailor who is left behind by his ship, stranded on the northeastern tip of Siberia. It is the story of one native Siberian community that adopts a wounded stranger and teaches him to live as a true human being. Over time, John comes to know his new companions as real people who share the best and worst of human traits with his own kind. Tragedy strikes, and wounds are healed with compassion and honesty as tensions rise and fall. Rytkheu's empathy, humor, and provocative voice guide us across the magnificent landscape of the North and reveal all the complexity and beauty of a vanishing world. A Dream in Polar Fog is one of the debut titles in the Rainmaker translation series, a new collection of books meant to encourage a lively reading experience of contemporary world literature drawn from diverse languages and cultures. Rainmaker Translations are co-published with support from the International Institute of Modern Letters in Las Vegas.
A Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize Notable Book, 2005
A hypnotic, shimmering new novel. . . . One emerges from the novel and its sudden, jarring, most unusual but spot-on ending dazed, dazzled, snow-blind."
—The San Diego Union Tribune
A Dream in Polar Fog gave me the same haunting and powerful reading experience as did Melville's travel fictions. Yuri Rytkheu is a world-class writer. Part lyrical ethnography, part uncanny adventure movie, part historical saga, part spectral tone poem, this novel miraculously brings Siberia to the center of our lives."
Thousands of books have been written about the arctic aborigines by intruders from the south. Yuri Rytkheu has turned the skin inside out and written about the way the arctic people view outsiders. A Chukchi himself, Yuri writes with passion, strength, and beauty of a world we others have never understood. A splendid book."
This story by Yuri Rytkheu is the very story we have been waiting for: a love song to human survival, both physical and metaphysical, a true story about change and endurance, about the Essential way to live in the world, about the eternal story while recounting the fleeting one."