A singularly Conradian novel (from a singularly Conradian author), at its heart is the retelling of a fabled pursuit, many years before, of an escaped prisoner from a Siberian gulag. The teller is Pavel Gartsev who, as a Red Army reservist, was part of the original search party... It is a shame that the sensible conventions of a review forbid me from saying more about the last quarter of the novel, because those pages are some of the most moving. It’s also a shame that Geoffrey Strachan’s faithful translation struck a stiff note that contributed to the occasional emotional ponderousness. For all its shortcomings, though, The Archipelago of Another Life potently reminds us how the totalitarian mindset – whether in Conrad’s Congo, Stalin’s USSR, or today’s flickerings of fascism in uncountable places around the globe – remains the heart of darkness most worth resisting.