Books

Owls of the Eastern Ice

In Owls of the Eastern Ice, American researcher and conservationist Slaght takes us to the Primoriye region of Eastern Russia, where we join a small team for late-night monitoring missions, on mad dashes across thawing rivers, drink vodka with mystics, hermits, and scientists, and listen to fireside tales of Amur tigers. Most captivating of all are the fish owls themselves: careful hunters, devoted parents, singers of eerie duets, and irrepressible survivors in a harsh and shrinking habitat.

A rare glimpse into the everyday life of a scientist and the subjects of his deep fascination, Owls of the Eastern Ice is a testament to the determination, creativity, and resolve required by field research and a powerful reminder of the beauty, strength, and vulnerability of the natural world.

Order now: FSGAmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound in USA; Penguin UKAmazon UK in UK; and Penguin in Australia.

Across the Ussuri Kray

In this collection of travel writing by famed Russian explorer and naturalist Vladimir K. Arsenyev (1872-1930), readers are shuttled back to the turn of the 20th century when the Russian Empire was reeling from its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and vulnerable to its Far Eastern neighbors. What began as an expedition to survey the region’s infrastructure for the Russian military turned into an adventure through one of the most ethnically and ecologically diverse territories in Russia. Encountering the disappearing indigenous cultures of the Nanai and Udege, engaging the help of Korean farmers and Chinese hunters, and witnessing the beginning of indomitable Russian settlement, Arsenyev documents the lives and customs of the region’s inhabitants and their surroundings. Translated from the Russian with more than 300 annotations by Jonathan C. Slaght.

Reviewed by The New Yorker, LA Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, and others.

Buy a copy signed by the translator (me)! $30 shipped (US addresses only). Payment by PayPal (jslaght@fishowls.org) or Venmo (Jonathan-Slaght) only. Note any inscription requests in Comments box and, within reason, they will be honored.

Buy from other places: Indiana University PressBarnes & NobleAmazonFarley’s Bookshop, and elsewhere.