• "[A] literary romp in the footsteps of [Russia’s “big beast” 19th-century] writers — which does not skimp on detail or seriousness… I approached this book thinking that it would be — along with Elif Batuman’s The Possessedand Viv Groskop’s The Anna Karenina Fix — the third in a recent hattrick of women’s journeys through Russian literature. Wheeler goes beyond these books by travelling to the backwaters of Russia so that we don’t have to — we can continue to travel in the comfort of our armchair through the pages of the masterpieces that the great writers left behind."

    The Times
  • "The image many westerners have of Russia is an unflattering one, heavy on totalitarianism and repression. Sara Wheeler offers an important corrective. Part literary criticism, part travelogue, her fascinating book is as enthusiastic and authoritative a guide as one could wish for."