A Kiriyama Pacific Rim Prize Notable Book, 2005
A Dream in Polar Fog is at once a cross-cultural journey, an ethnographic chronicle of the Chukchi people, and a politically and emotionally charged Arctic adventure story.
John MacLennan, a Canadian sailor, is stranded on the northeastern tip of Siberia, left behind by his ship. One native Siberian community adopts the wounded stranger and teaches him to live as a true human being. Rytkheu’s empathy, humor, and provocative voice guide us across the magnificent landscape of the North and reveal all the complexities and beauty of a vanishing world.
A Dream in Polar Fog is one of the debut titles in the Rainmaker translation series, a collection of books meant to encourage a lively reading experience of contemporary world literature drawn from diverse languages and cultures. Archipelago also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Black Mountain Institute.
A Dream in Polar Fog gave me the same haunting and powerful reading experience as did Melville's travel fictions. Yuri Rytkheu is a world-class writer. Part lyrical ethnography, part uncanny adventure movie, part historical saga, part spectral tone poem, this novel miraculously brings Siberia to the center of our lives.
— Howard Norman
Thousands of books have been written about the arctic aborigines by intruders from the south. Yuri Rytkheu has turned the skin inside out and written about the way the arctic people view outsiders. A Chukchi himself, Yuri writes with passion, strength, and beauty of a world we others have never understood. A splendid book.
— Farley Mowat
This story by Yuri Rytkheu is the very story we have been waiting for: a love song to human survival, both physical and metaphysical, a true story about change and endurance, about the essential way to live in the world, about the eternal story while recounting the fleeting one.
— Gioia Timpanelli
A hypnotic, shimmering new novel. . . . One emerges from the novel and its sudden, jarring, most unusual but spot-on ending dazed, dazzled, snow-blind.
— The San Diego Union Tribune
Rarely has humanity’s relationship to nature been so beautifully and vividly depicted . . . It recalls, in both substance and style, the best work of Jack London and Herman Melville, and it is a novel in the grandest sense of the word.
— Neal Pollack