Reviews

“A genre-defying mosaic of memoir, historical research and a reflection on time and place, With Light Steam is easily in a league with Travels in Siberia, by Ian Frazier, for spectacular American travel writing on Russia.”
– Paul Connell, Newcity Lit

With Light Steam is travel writing at its most insightful and most intimate. Wrapped in a towel or not, sweating profusely and beaten lightly by sticks, Bryon MacWilliams goes deep into the viscera of ordinary Russian life and finds there something true about his own troubled, steadily racing heart.”
– Ken Kalfus, author of PU-239 and Other Russian Fantasies

“Often very frank (this is a PG-13 read at least) and open, With Light Steam is a personal and engaging look at a side of Russian life that few westerners can claim entry to or experience in… MacWilliams travels the breadth and depth of Russia following his passion for the banya,…and traveling with him is a joy. He is a refreshingly self-deprecating, easy-going traveler and a superb storyteller. This is a book not to be missed.”
– Paul E. Richardson, Russian Life

“What a beautiful, poetic, wise, insightful, understated book…about life and meaning which masquerades wonderfully as a book about the history, the folklore and the reality of the Russian bathhouse. [With Light Steam] is a wonderfully precise, dryly affectionate mix of love and horror that suits Russian literature and culture well.”
– John Freedman, author of Real and Phantom Pains: An Anthology of New Russian Drama

“I love this book! Even if you have never taken a banya, nor been to Russia, this book will convince you the banya could very well be Russia’s greatest export.”
– Mikkel Aaland, author of Sweat

“Bryon MacWilliams’s book is terrific. And I don’t give a damn about steam. Well, I didn’t.”
– Peter Murphy, author of Stubborn Child

“With Light Steam skillfully blends Russian culture, ethnography, and history with personal reminiscences and experiences to produce a thoroughly engaging book that illuminates the Russian soul.”
– Christine D. Worobec, author of Possessed: Women, Witches and Demons in Imperial Russia