'Stunningly written' Sunday Times
'Richly absorbing' Guardian
'Hooks you in from the start' Times
'Hugely compelling' Observer
'Wonderful' Financial Times
Siberia’s story is traditionally one of exiles, bitter cold and suffering. Yet there is another tale to tell. Dotted throughout this remote land are pianos created during the boom years of the nineteenth century. They tell the story of how, ever since entering Russian culture under the influence of Catherine the Great, piano music has run through the country like blood. How these pianos travelled into this snow-bound wilderness in the first place is remarkable. That stately instruments might still be capable of making music in such a hostile landscape is nothing less than a miracle.
The Lost Pianos of Siberia is a story about a piano hunt - a quixotic journey through two centuries of Russian history and nine time zones stretching across an eleventh of the world's land surface. It reveals not only music, but profound humanity in the last place on earth you might expect to find it.
"This is an amazing journey, the ultimate quest for the oddest objects - pianos - in the most unlikely place - Siberia. But Sophy Roberts makes it much more than that, an elegant and nuanced journey through literature, through history, through music, murder and incarceration and revolution, through snow and ice and remoteness, to discover the human face of Siberia. I loved this book."
"An impressive exploration of Siberia's terrifying past... Richly absorbing."
"An exuberant, eccentric journey through Russian vastness, European history and Russian culture, The Lost Pianos of Siberia is a quixotic quest, a picaresque travel adventure and a strange forgotten story, all wrapped into one fascinating book."
"What shines through in this book is Roberts' genuine, humane affection for and fascination with the people she meets in Siberia."
"An extraordinary encounter with a wildly fascinating and astonishingly ill-known region... This is a wonderful book."
"Marvellous… a masterful example of modern historical travel writing"
"A richly observed cultural history... thrilling."
"Fascinating account of Siberia’s horrific legacy told with great verve… Roberts is a wonderfully lyrical writer."
"Beautifully written... A unique short history of Russia from Catherine the Great to Putin... A sense of the extraordinary marks every page."
"Captures Siberia's wildness, but favours its enchantments."