08 April 2021, The Tablet

Speed reading: Lucy Popescu is on the move


Norwegian social anthropologist Erika Fatland’s journey through the countries bordering Russia, The Border (MacLehose Press, £30; Tablet price £27), is a combination of travelogue, history and sociopolitical analysis. She begins in North Korea and ends in her homeland, travelling by boat, taxi, train and plane. Fatland slips seamlessly between accounts of historical violence, human-rights abuses and personal anecdotes. Particularly memorable are the story of Maia, a former acrobat in a Minsk circus who lost almost her entire family during the Holocaust, and Fatland’s terrifying boat journey to Odessa with drunken Russian lorry drivers banging on her cabin door through the night.

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