The Gentleman From Finland: Adventures On The Trans-siberian Express
discovers he's on the wrong train. It is 1987, and he is traveling in the
Soviet Union, holding a train voucher that mistakenly identifies him as a
Finn. In fact, he is a short, dark-skinned Mexican-American-Russian Jew,
who speaks only enough Russian to proclaim that he is Bob, the tourist from
America. As the trip unfolds, what begins as the fulfillment of a childhood
dream becomes a journey with a cast of characters worthy of a Russian
novel. A grim old woman takes his only pair of shoes. Smugglers stash
contraband booze under his bunk, then ply him with alcohol and delicacies.
A beautiful Russian woman rescues the author from disaster in one city,
only to mysteriously reappear in another, fueling his growing paranoia that
she is KGB agent. Throughout the story, Goldstein interjects historical
anecdotes, as well as his own family's past in czarist Russia. The
Gentleman From Finland is a sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant story
of the misadventures of a traveler who discovers that a journey on the
world's longest rail line is much more than just a big train ride.
"The Gentleman from Finland is big fun - an entertaining portrait of a singular journey -- The Seattle Times, April 25, 2005
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