Kalder, Daniel 1974-
Kalder, Daniel 1974-
PERSONAL: Born 1974, in Fife, Scotland. Education: Graduated from Edinburgh University.
ADDRESSES: Agent— Emma Parry, Fletcher & Parry LLC., 78 5th Ave., 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Writer. Worked variously in the BSE crisis unit and as a private tutor and magazine writer in Moscow.
Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist (travel memoir), Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Born in Fife, Scotland, writer Daniel Kalder has spent a decade in the former Soviet Union, uncovering the most unlikely of tourist destinations. Rather than visiting locations known for beautiful scenery, fine food, excellent shopping opportunities, or historical significance, Kalder has invested his time in more obscure, contemporary settings in order to see what they have to offer. The reality of the places he visited, which were often broken down, littered with trash, economically unsound, and architecturally stark, fits in to Kalder’s premise of traveling as an “anti-tourist.” Kalder himself stated, in an interview for the London Times:“I’m really fascinated by things that nobody cares about, precisely because nobody cares about them. It’s a type of pity, I suppose. The travel writer usually tries to fake authenticity and pretend they’re constantly stumbling on beautiful places off the beaten track. I thought it’d be amusing for the writer to go off the track and wish he’d never left it.” His book, Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist, chronicles his experiences and describes many of his discoveries over the course of his travels, including his interest in the various people who made up the territories that were swallowed up by the Soviet Union, such as Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Mari El, and Udmurtia. Viv Groskop, in a review for the New Statesman, remarked that “the places Daniel Kalder visits are real enough, but he refuses to find anything interesting about them. He may think this is hilarious, but in fact it merely emphasises how misguided his book is.” Dusko Doder, writing for the Guardian, opined: “Kalder has written a readable book that for the first time assembles essential historical and factual information about the four republics. This is a considerable achievement, as the process of Russification was so successful that there are very few people who still remember old traditions and practices.”
Richard B. Woodward, in a review for the New York Times, remarked of Kalder that his “distaste for package tourism (and travel writing) is at times compromised by a preening self-regard and a nostalgie de la boue.” Woodward went on to add: “What redeems the book from smugness is that he pours as much scorn on himself as on others,” while a contributor for Kirkus Reviews commented: “His cavalier narration works best when taken in small doses, as do the jarring moments when the author openly admits to the fabrication of several dramatically detailed interactions.” However, Askold Krushelnycky, in a contribution for the Independent, noted: “Much of this fine first book is hilarious and often abrasive. But Kalder’s observations are always underpinned by a fondness for these hidden Europeans, and the cultures edging towards extinction.” Mark Eleveld, reviewing the title for Booklist, called Kalder’s account of his adventures “cool, wry, lively, and fun.” Writing for the Times Literary Supplement, Zinovy Zinik called the book a “revelatory study... full of sharp absurdist insights into uncharted territories of boredom, distant lands of bizarre institutions and strange bureaucratic habits.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Kalder, Daniel, Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist, Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.
Booklist, August 1, 2006, Mark Eleveld, review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 30.
Bookseller, December 16, 2005, Caroline Sanderson, “Travelling with an Anti-Tourist,” review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 37; June 2, 2006, Andrew Steed, review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 13.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2006, review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 558.
New Scientist, January 28, 2006, David Cohen, “Off the Beaten Track,” review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 50.
New Statesman, February 27, 2006, Viv Groskop, “Lonely Planet,” review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 55.
Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2006, review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 41.
Times Literary Supplement, April 7, 2006, Zinovy Zinik, “Going Nowhere,” review of Lost Cosmonaut, p. 36.
Daniel Kalder Home Page, http://www.danielkalder.com (January 29, 2007).
Guardian Online, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (March 25, 2006), Dusko Doder, “Lost Lands the Size of Scotland,” review of Lost Cosmonaut.
Independent Online, http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/ (March 7, 2006), Askold Krushelnycky, review of Lost Cosmonaut.
New York Times Online, http://www.nytimes.com/ (December 24, 2006), Richard B. Woodward, “Armchair Traveler,” review of Lost Cosmonaut.
Times Online (London, England), http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ (January 29, 2007), Allan Brown, “Having a Terrible Time, Wish You Were Here,” review of Lost Cosmonaut.