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Reeling in Russia

An American Angler in Russia


Not long after finishing his 3 ½-year stint as Moscow correspondent of The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the new Russia, journalist Fen Montaigne fulfilled a long-held dream to explore the backwaters of the vast Russian countryside. What ensued, amid the rubble of post-Soviet Russia, was an epic journey that began above the Arctic Circle in July near the Norwegian border and ended in October on the Kamchatka Peninsula, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.


By train, truck, and boat, Fen trekked to some of the world’s most beautiful, remote rivers and lakes — including Siberia’s fabled Lake Baikal — in pursuit of exotic game fish. But at heart Reeling in Russia is far more than an angling journey. It is a humorous, moving, and memorable account of his adventures in the madhouse that was the post-Soviet world and a striking portrait of Russia that highlights the humanity and tribulations of its people.

“Wonderful . . . a vastly entertaining and edifying work.”

- The Washington Post

“A passionate and beautifully written memoir . . . a vivid, compelling . . . portrait of a country that remains an enigma to most Americans.”

- The Chicago Tribune

“A first-rate book . . .with memorable writing . . . Mr. Montaigne has netted a darkly comic tale in which he plays the picaresque anti-hero.”

The Wall Street Journal

“Brimming with some of the most spellbinding and accurate portraits ever of modern Russians.”

- The Boston Globe

“Fen Montaigne has gotten closer to the essence of modern Russia than any writer in a generation. Worthy of Bruce Chatwin’s or Paul Theroux’s travel adventures, this is a deliciously funny book, but it is also haunting, vivid, and deep.”

- David Remnick, editor of and author of The New Yorker and author of Lenin’s Tomb

“Think of Montaigne as a Tocqueville with a fly rod who uncovers Russia in the raw.”

Sports Illustrated

"Reeling in Russia is a terrific book, handsomely written, about angling in the strange new Russia, with a remarkable feeling for the greatness and wildness of its land and people.”

- Thomas McGuane, author of The Longest Silence and The Cadence of Grass

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