Beautiful Travels

Reading Daniel Mason’s new novel, The Winter Solider, I’m reminded of first reading Russian novels — Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev — when I was a teenager. How hungry I was for those books — what will these characters do? — in their snow-buried landscapes. Tender green shoots of spring poked through the gritty ice.

This reading mirrors the kind of life I carved out as an adult. Live on a hundred acres of woods, work outside in all weather, pull your toddler along the backroad in the sleet, just because…. Know that where the moon rises above your house is essential. Be afraid; know that the snow and the long-toothed northern cold can and will maim and kill, but how beautiful this world is…..

They were five hours east of Debrecen when the train came to a halt before the station on the empty plain.

— Daniel Mason, The Winter Soldier

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Cambridge, Vermont