Kolymsky Heights is a Siberian permafrost hell lost in endless night: the perfect setting for an underground Russian research station. It’s a place so secret it doesn’t officially exist and, once there, the scientists are forbidden to leave. But one scientist is desperate to get a message to the outside world – so desperate that he sends a plea across the wilderness to the West in order to summon the one man alive capable of achieving the impossible.
Reviewed by Anne Boston in Slightly Foxed Issue 60.
I met Davidson in 1994 when Kolymsky Heights, his last and arguably his finest, was published. He was slight and unassuming, with expressive dark eyes that widened when I showed him my early proof copy and said how much I’d enjoyed it. How did he come to be familiar with the ‘howling wastes’ of Siberia, virtually closed to outsiders for decades, so chillingly evoked in the book? It was all based on factual research, he said simply; he had never set foot there. He wrote a brief inscription above his signature on my proof copy, signed my battered paperback of his first novel, The Night of Wenceslas (1960), smiled slyly and moved on. The inscription read ‘All our endings are different!’ But of that more later . . .
Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 60, Winter 2018