Pravda Ha Ha: True Travels to the End of Europe by Rory MacLean

I would propose an alternate subhead for this book, “Sort of True Travels …,” because this account of journeys through Russia and nearby states is delivered by a distinctly unreliable narrator. It reads like a cross between Mark Twain and Hunter S. Thompson.

Which is a very good thing, because Rory MacLean’s new book is darkly entertaining throughout, if not entirely to be believed. Like Twain’s camel that chokes to death trying to eat one of his manuscripts, gagging on “one of the mildest and gentlest statements of fact that I ever laid before a trusting public,” or the screeching bats (unseen by others) that attack Thompson in Las Vegas, many of the supposedly true details in this book serve a purpose larger than mere truth.