Oct 1, 2010 11:58:13 AM
Ukraine: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Ukraine guide provides a selection of literature to get you in the mood for your trip.
Only a handful of authors – of either fiction or nonfiction – have made their way across Ukraine. So take your diary – there’s a gap in the market here.
Anna Reid’s excellent Borderland, her observations of the country during her time here as an Economist correspondent in the 1990s, functions as much as a travelogue as a history book.
Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, follows a Jewish American searching for the Ukrainian woman who saved his grandfather during WWII. Letters between him and his language-mangling translator and guide build up a wacky, almost stream-of-consciousness novel. (Liev Schreiber’s 2005 film of the book had the benefit of starring Elijah Wood and Gogol Bordello singer Eugene Hutz, but suffered from giving the story a happy ending.)
In Long Way Round, actor Ewan McGregor and friend Charley Boorman cross Europe, including Ukraine, on their motorbikes. However, they’re not travel writers and devote at least as much space to their practical tribulations as to the countries.
More recently Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2006, Tim Cope, spent 14 months crossing Ukraine on horseback as part of a longer, three-year epic to follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan from Mongolia to Hungary. He completed the trip in late 2007 and, until any books, TV series or films ensue, you can read his insightful descriptions and musings at www.timcopejourneys.com.
More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.