In his 80th year, acclaimed travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron made a dramatic and ambitious journey along the almost unknown river that divides China and Russia. The tenth longest river in the world, rising in the Mongolian mountains and flowing through Siberia to the Pacific, the Amur River forms the tense border between Russia and China.
Thubron’s journey from the river’s secret source to its giant mouth covered 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.
Offering a unique perspective of two of the world’s superpowers via the story of the Amur, 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. This is truly a night not to be missed