Map Monday #24

Hello and welcome to ‘Map Monday’. This was inspired by the current pandemic and lockdowns and the inability to travel. I will share one book each week with you that is set somewhere different to where I live. I’ll chat a bit about the book and throw some interesting facts out there about the place. I hope you enjoy travelling through books with me…

This week I’ve picked ‘To The Lake’ by Yana Vagner, which is set in Russia!

Book Synopsis:

When a virulent flu epidemic sweeps through Moscow, killing hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, Anya and her husband Sergei decide to flee to a lake in the far north of Russia.

But as the wave of infection expands from the capital, they encounter obstacles, hazards and aggression as they try to navigate their way through a harsh Russian winter, with diminishing supplies of petrol and food. And their troubles multiply as Sergei agrees to takes on unwelcome guests, and Anna struggles with her own feelings of hostility and jealousy…

To the Lake was inspired by a flu epidemic in Moscow. A bestselling novel in Russia, it has now appeared in a dozen languages, and been adapted into a Netflix TV series.

Interesting Facts about Russia:

  • Russia is the largest country in the world, nearly twice the size of Canada.
  • Unsurprisingly this means that Russia contains Europe’s longest river (The Volga) and its largest lake (Ladoga).
  • The male life expectancy is just 65, lower than it is in North Korea or Iraq. Russian women, on the other hand, can expect to live to 76.
  • The world’s lowest recorded temperature outside the North and South poles, is in Russia.
  • The name Red Square actually has nothing to do with communism, but derives from the word “krasnyi”, which once meant “beautiful”.
  • It spans 11 times zones.
  • Russia’s greatest museum (The Hermitage) is home to around 70 cats which guard its treasures against rodents.
  • Russia is home to roughly 20% of the worlds trees.
  • There are around 11 million more women than men.
  • It has one of the world’s most terrifying walkways: the 439-metre Sky Bridge.
  • Russian man Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space.
  • Russians are the world’s fourth biggest drinkers, according to WHO statistics, behind Belarus, Moldova and Lithuania.
  • Chicken’s foot soup (kholodets) is a traditional delicacy.
  • Roughly 10,000 British tourists visit the country each year, and more than 90%of them go only to Moscow and/or St Petersburg.
  • A clock in St Petersburg marks the exact moment that Russia became communist.


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