A Marriage of East and West in the new Russia...
Without aiming to be a survival guide, romance or autobiography, Sunbathing in Siberia manages to be all of them and none. Told completely from the Trans-Siberian and a series of Russian jets, this is the story of a young British poet, who, after becoming engaged to his translator over 3500 miles east, embarks on a journey into the very heart of Siberia to marry his fiancée. However, in place of the desolate wasteland he expected to find, Michael discovers the side of Siberia little known outside of Russia. After 30 years of British rain, Michael has finally to learn the art of sunbathing, in the last place on Earth anyone would think to take a pair of flip-flops.
With little knowledge of post-Soviet Russia, or its language; and without any survival skills, Michael has to adapt to the Siberian way of life. As Russia struggles to find its new identity, Michael too is forced to recreate himself, while finding the tools needed to live with parading nuclear missiles, wild bears, and a host of extreme dangers.
'Mao’s seemingly ceaseless ability for honest and frank prose is one of this book’s real strengths… Sunbathing in Siberia situates itself between two cultures at a time in which it is most necessary to do so, interrogating and exploring national identities. Insightful and hilarious, the memoir prompts the reader to re-evaluate their approach to the East' New Welsh Review
After his debut publication in 2009, Cardiff born Michael Oliver-Semenov served as the first poet in residence for Blown, the magazine of cultural intelligence, and has since published in a plethora of magazines and journals worldwide, including the The Morning Star, Orbis, Mandala Review and Ink Sweat and Tears, to name just a few. In 2011 Michael emigrated to Siberia to live with his wife Anastasia. When he is not growing vegetables at the family dacha in summer, or avoiding the wild Siberian hounds of winter, Michael is also a freelance English teacher and occasionally contributes to The Siberian Times.