Monday, February 12, 2018

The Winter Station

The Winter Station: a Novel / Jody Shields, 334 p.

In Kharbin, a Russian-controlled Chinese border town in 1910, bodies are appearing mysteriously in the snow.  They are blood-spattered, but have no obvious wounds.  The Baron, a Russian medical doctor married to a Chinese woman, begins to have his suspicions when he visits the home of a victim who died in bed, leaving his walls mist-sprayed with blood.

Based on a historical outbreak of pneumonic plague in the frigid city of Kharbin, this is a strange, moody, affecting tale.  Kharbin was, apparently, a wild west sort of place in those years, as it was just becoming a major railway junction.  The harsh winter combines with deep cultural mistrust between Russian and Chinese residents to create a miserable claustrophobia. 

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