In a book whose only battlefield is a cross-continental train, Maylis de Kerangal vividly evokes the Russian military’s disorder and brutality and the desperation of the men who have been forced to serve in it ... Eastbound becomes a novel of suspense that hurtles along with considerably more velocity than the train itself ... In Maylis de Kerangal’s luminous vision, conveyed by the inspired translator Jessica Moore, Siberia’s immensity dwarfs human perspective. The insecurity of existence across this vastness and on board the train emphasizes the significance of human connection.
Eastbound briskly unfolds the events of this crazy but thrilling little Mission: Impossible ... The crisp, cascading sentences; the delicious mixture of fear and romance; the harmonious balance of story and language: these are characteristics of each of Ms. de Kerangal’s books, which spring from subjects as diverse as a heart transplant, the construction of a suspension bridge and the Lascaux cave paintings.