Thoreau with vodka in Siberia

ConsolationsjktThe judges of the Dolman Travel Book Award, due to deliver their verdict on September 30, are currently considering the strongest short list there has been for the prize for a few years. Among them is the French writer Sylvain Tesson’s Consolations of the Forest, in which he chronicles the six months he spent in a cabin in Siberia, like some latterday Thoreau on Smirnoff. “I took along books, cigars and vodka,” he says. “The rest — space, silence and solitude — was already there.” The book is beautifully translated from the French by Linda Coverdale. I’m delighted to be publishing a short extract on Deskbound Traveller, courtesy of Tesson’s British publisher, Penguin.

Speaking of Thoreau, the latest edition of Granta magazine, which takes as its theme “American Wild”, has a “found” poem in celebration of the great man by Andrew Motion. It also has a thought-provoking piece by Adam Nicolson on the return of wolves to New Mexico, seen from the point of view of both  environmentalist and rancher.

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