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Strange Telescopes: Following the Apocalypse from Moscow to Siberiaby Daniel Kalder
Synopses & Reviews
When Daniel Kalder descended into the sewers of Moscow in pursuit of the mythical lost city of tramps, he didn't realize that he was embarking on a bizarre, year-long odyssey that would lead him thousands of miles across Russia to the Arctic Circle via the heart of Asia. After exploring the depths of Moscow's "Underground Planet," Kalder journeyed to the Ukraine to chase down demons and exorcists in the dubious afterglow of the Orange Revolution, before meeting a man called Vissarion Christ--a one-time traffic cop, he is now messiah to thousands of followers in Siberia. Salvation and damnation collide as Daniel Kalder expertly guides us through this unique account of a modern day quest that reveals the astonishing lengths people will go to when they view the world through a "strange telescope."
"Like his first book, Lost Cosmonaut, this travelogue trips through the dark side of the former Soviet Union, finding curious societies and characters everywhere. Intrigued by a story about a Moscow group called 'the Diggers,' who live in a sub-city network of tunnels and secret bunkers, Kalder (a Scotsman who lived in the former S.U. for 10 years) decided to track them down; the 'anti-climactic' endeavor found the Diggers hanging out in the underground maze, but living terrestrially. Inspired anyhow, Kalder decides to penetrate the 'massed army of dreamers, artists, hippies and musicians that arose after perestroika.' His next foray takes him to witness exorcisms 'where the reality of demons was already beyond dispute,' in the company of an independent film maker who is himself obsessed with Satanism. Back in Moscow, Kalder's drawn to a group leading 'almost heroic' lives of discipline and self-sufficiency on a commune, led by the 'Jesus of Siberia.' He also pursues an odd man with an unfinished monument to freedom, who claims responsibility for inventing perestroika. Calling his trek a 'metaphysical-existential-cosmic quest,' Kalder can be terminally chatty and unfocused, but provides rare glimpses into the odd afterlife of a collapsed superpower." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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