Monday, May 5, 2008

"Apples are From Kazakhstan": a Travelogue Book Launch

Apples are From Kazakhstan, the American edition of In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land That Disappeared launched this week in the United States. The travelogue, written by journalist and author Christopher Robbins, was noted in this week's Kazakhstan News Bulletin issued by the Kazakhstan Embassy. Families soon to travel to Kazakhstan to complete their international adoption may be more culturally prepared through this book's reading.


Closed to foreigners under Tsar and Soviet rule, Kazakhstan has remained largely hidden from the world, a remarkable feat for a country the size of Western Europe. Few would guess that Kazakhstan—a blank in Westerners' collective geography—turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern, the country that gave the world apples, trousers, and even, perhaps, King Arthur.

Christopher Robbins enjoyed unprecedented access to the Kazakh president while crafting this travelogue, and he relates a story by turns hilarious and grim. He finds Eminem-worship by a shrinking Aral Sea, hears the Kazakh John Lennon play in a dusty desert town, joins nomads hunting eagles, eats boiled sheep's head (a delicacy), and explores some of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on earth. Observant and culturally attuned, Robbins is a master stylist in the tradition of travel writing as literature, a companion to V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux.
--Powell Books
Robbins's travelogue enthusiastically and infectiously blends history, observation and mini biographies… A captivating read notable for off-the-cuff candor and measured, eloquent prose.
--Kirkus, starred review


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