The Winter Station

The Winter Station

A Novel

Book - 2018
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An aristocratic Russian doctor races to contain a deadly plague in an outpost city in Manchuria - before it spreads to the rest of the world.

1910: people are mysteriously dying at an alarming rate in the Russian-ruled city of Kharbin, a major railway outpost in Northern China. Strangely, some of the dead bodies vanish before they can be identified.

During a dangerously cold winter in a city gripped by fear, the Baron, a wealthy Russian aristocrat and the city's medical commissioner, is determined to stop this mysterious plague. Battling local customs, an occupying army, and a brutal epidemic with no name, the Baron is torn between duty and compassion, between Western medical science and respect for Chinese tradition. His allies include a French doctor, a black marketeer, and a charismatic Chinese dwarf. His greatest refuge is the intimacy he shares with his young Chinese wife - but she has secrets of her own.

Based on a true story that has been lost to history, set during the last days of imperial Russia, The Winter Station is a richly textured and brilliant novel about mortality, fear and love.
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, ©2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316385343
Branch Call Number: FICTION SHI
Characteristics: 339 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Apr 12, 2018

How the author managed to make this story deadly dull is a mystery. Seems like way too much energy was devoted to attempting to be "artistic" even for a reader like me who prefers literary novels, especially Russian or Russia set novels and is not at all impatient with time devoted to creating atmosphere. Really thought this would be right up my alley. Alas, this one has no convincing or even interesting characters, not even the dwarf, apparently thrown in for "color". No convincing dialogue. The plot moves at a glacial pace which would be fine if this were mainly a character study novel (I love those) but it's about a subject that one would think would naturally create urgency and suspense. If the disease spread as slowly as this novel moves it really wouldn't have been much of a problem. Stuck with it most of the way through but realized I just didn't want to spend any more time hoping it would get more engaging. But I'm definitely going to look out this bit of interesting history in non-fiction form. Truth can't possibly be as boring as fiction in this case.

JessicaGma Apr 04, 2018

This is an interesting novel where disease appears in the remote town in Russia in 1910. Based on true events, it really reminded me of Camus' La Peste, making this a sort of pensive, taught novel where the characters have to react to extreme circumstances. A good historical read.

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