Read-Along, The Archipelago of Another Life, Part II

Four weeks ago, I began reading L’Archipel d’une autre vie, along with Emma at Words And Peace. We invited others to join us and set a goal to have half of the book read by May 3. When we were a quarter of the way through, I sent some questions to Emma about the book, which are posted here along with her replies and some interesting comments.

This time it was Emma’s turn to send me the questions. Her questions and my answers are posted here on Words And Peace.

You are always welcome to join us. The book is relatively short and we are proceeding at a relaxed pace. You can learn about the book here. It is available in both French and English.

The Setting

At this point, I thought it would be worth tracking down a few images of the Russian Taiga, where the story unfolds. Below are some of the photos from Wikimedia Commons that illustrate the remoteness, beauty, and inhospitable nature of the book’s setting. Click on an image to enlarge.

In Two Weeks…

Our next milestone is May 17, when we plan to have read to the middle of chapter V. In the French version, the words that mark the stopping point are “loin de mon passé, du monde des autres où je n’avais plus de rôle à jouer.” I don’t have the exact translation in the English version but my approximation is “far from my past, from the rest of the world where I no longer had a role to play.”

In the meantime, I look forward to learning your impressions so far. Happy reading!


You’ll find questions and answers for Part III of IV here.

About Carol A. Seidl

Serial software entrepreneur, writer, translator, and mother of 3. Avid follower of French media, culture, history, and language. Lover of books, travel, history, art, cooking, fitness, and nature. Cultivating connections with francophiles and francophones.


  1. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures!

    • You’re welcome. The region, it seems, remains relatively untouched by man. I doubt I’ll ever travel there but I can understand the attraction looking at pictures like these.

  2. That quote you shared is absolutely lovely. I have a lot of trouble reading fiction nowadays but this really sounds tempting, especially because I love anything set in the Russian taiga. The images you found are so gorgeous too!

    Sylvain Tesson, a French author I’m sure you’re probably already familiar with (Emma is a big fan of his too!) wrote a memoir called (in its English translation) The Consolation of the Forest, about his time holing up in a cabin in Siberia during a difficult life moment. I loved it, and I’m sure it’s even more meaningful in its original French, and an interesting perspective on part of that area too.

    • This book is short and very well done. I’m finding it better than most works of fiction but I understand your hesitancy. I went through a phase when I avoided fiction as well. Sometimes you have to follow your gut.

      The Consolation of the Forest sounds good. Thanks for the tip. I haven’t read anything by Tesson.

      • I’m surprised, I would think he’d have crossed your radar! That one is my favorite and I loved Berezina as well – about his trip through Russia following Napoleon’s retreat to Paris. It’s very bizarre and funny but an excellent history too. His latest is coming out in English in July – The Snow Leopard in French and I think The Art of Patience in English – and I have a review copy I can’t wait to read. I know your reading list is long but he’s really wonderful and I can only imagine better in his own language!

  3. Who’s the author?

  4. Lazy me. I clicked on the title. Now I know… Bon week-end.

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