A wonderful little book full of insight. Masterfully written so that you get a full feeling of things in a minimum number of words. Olenin, the protagonist of this short novel, is the only character to whom we readers get a deep insight into his inner thoughts, but this is fitting as we, like him, should see the Cossacks as separate from ourselves. His longing to erase that gap and "go native" is born out of unrealistically romantic notions. I enjoy books that explore themes of cultural difference, and imperialism fascinates me, so it is little wonder I find this to be a near perfect read.
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