Travelling by train across the barren landscapes of the Kazakh steppes, the narrator encounters an angry young man - Yerzhan, a 27-year-old man trapped in the body of a 12-year-old boy since swimming in the forbidden Dead Lake in the atomic testing zone during the Cold War. As the train trundles along the tracks, the tragic story unfolds, sounding like a traditional, almost mythological, bard's tale, full of overlapping layers of colourful characters, personal tragedies, battles with nature ...
In terms of plot, nothing much happens but it has a timeless universality that makes it reach out to you whenever and wherever you are reading it. It's a fairytalesque but poignant read with chilling references to the after effects of the nuclear tests.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £12
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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