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Questions of Travel: A Novel by Michelle de…
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Questions of Travel: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Michelle de Kretser

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127None94,413 (3.77)28
Member:jll1976
Title:Questions of Travel: A Novel
Authors:Michelle de Kretser
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2013), Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Questions of Travel: A Novel by Michelle de Kretser (2012)

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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
I found this book fascinating, thought-provoking, inciteful and very clever, but also quite epic, and hard going. Within the settings of well-known world events and places, this novel tracks the very different lives of two rather 'normal', unpretentious protagonists battling what life throws at them wherever they are on the globe and how their lives eventually become intertwined and fated. ( )
  wendyburrill | Mar 3, 2014 |
This is a gorgeous novel, with some wonderful, insightful writing and beautiful descriptions. It intertwines the stories of two very different characters, Laura from Sydney who has grown up without a mother and a distant father and Ravi who despite growing up fatherless and in poverty, receives a good education and becomes a maths lecturer and early website designer. Each must travel to find out who they are and what they want from life. Laura chooses to follow the backpacking trail to Europe when her aunt leaves her some money and ends up settling in London for some time until the thought of light and heat bring her back to Australia. Ravi suffers a tragic event and seeks asylum in Australia. They meet when they both find themselves working for a travel guide company, however neither has yet finished their journey and must continue on.

Although the writing is wonderful, almost lyrical in places and always enjoyable to read, I did find the novel dragged a little in the middle and I wondered where it was going. However it all becomes apparent once we reach the second part of the book where the main characters have arrived in Australia to begin the next phase of their lives. The book raises many questions about the purpose of travel and what we gain from it, it also addresses the difficult life suffered by asylum seekers who must wait in limbo while the courts decide their fate and raises questions about ethnicity and racism is this globalised age. I think this is also a book that will benefit from being re-read, with time taken to enjoy the journey without being concerned about what lies ahead. ( )
  cscott | Jan 26, 2014 |
I enjoyed the early part of this novel, savouring descriptive passages, and yet I had to reread many other sentences to ascertain her meaning and even then, at times, I was still not enlightened.

I think it was the character of Hester I appreciated the most, but Laura, I felt no connection with.

So I can't agree with the publisher's blurb, large sections of the story dragged for me. I found it overly long, two separate stories that after several hundred pages eventually connect.

Ravi's story was indeed worth the application and the perseverance, but it was the fact I had a deadline and that I really wanted to finish it so that I could start something new, that kept me reading to it's conclusion. So, for me, it was very uneven.There were moments of delight in the descriptive language but I found much of Laura's story tiresome. (6.5)

HelenNZ ( )
  HelenBaker | Nov 7, 2013 |
Unforgettable novel about travel in all its guises - but particularly refugee/emigrant travel and tourist travel. Thought-provoking about the meaning of travel, about assumptions. For my full review please see Whispering Gums at: http://whisperinggums.com/2013/08/01/michelle-de-kretser-questions-of-travel-rev... ( )
  minerva2607 | Oct 11, 2013 |
The concept of Questions of Travel sounded very interesting, following two very different lives and the ideas of home, travelling and life experience. Despite of this, I found it rather difficult to get through this novel; I just couldn’t really get into the story. I could not connect with either character and it felt like there were so many themes crammed into the novel that at the end, it left no impression on my mind.

My complete review of the novel was originally posted at caffeinatedlife.net: http://www.caffeinatedlife.net/blog/2013/05/13/review-questions-of-travel/ ( )
1 vote caffeinatedlife | Sep 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This dichotomy – of tourism in troubled places – is at the core of Questions of Travel. Its Australian author Michelle de Kretser, who was born in Sri Lanka, takes us quite happily to Heritage or Thrills, anywhere in the world – to ‘St Petersburg, Jaipur, Ljubljana. Hill trekking in Thailand, a weekend in an abbey on the Isle of Wight’ – but along the way shows us an extra thing or two. Like a taxi-ride that keeps pace with an open-sided truck in Singapore, which is ‘transporting guest workers to and from a building site … One of the dark-skinned men … asleep on a pile of bricks.’

Applied to de Kretser’s work, ‘along the way’ is no idle phrase. A novel about the politics and philosophy of travel, Questions of Travel is also a highly digressive text which, in its waywardness, discards a causal chain of events; it insists on its ‘right to interrupt the narration’ and to challenge ‘the despotism of “Story”’ (as Milan Kundera put it). It is a playful, performative, unsettled and often extremely unsettling narrative, which charts its own fantastic-realistic course. There are many departures from the main line, each detour creating suspense about where we are being taken and how to describe this labyrinth of pathways.
 
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IN MEMORY OF LEAH AKIE
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WHEN LAURA WAS TWO, THE twins decided to kill her.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316219223, Hardcover)

Laura Fraser grows up in Sydney, motherless, with a cold father and an artistic bent. Ravi Mendes is on the other side of the world--his humble father dead, his mother struggling, determined to succeed in computer science. Their stories alternate throughout Michelle de Kretser's ravishing new novel, culminating in unlikely fates for them both, destinies influenced by travel--voluntary in her case, enforced in his.

With money from an inheritance, Laura sets off to see the world, returning to Sydney to work for a travel guide. There she meets Ravi, a Sri Lankan political exile who wants only to see a bit of Australia and make a living. Where do these disparate characters truly belong? With her trademark subtlety, wit, and dazzling prose, Michelle de Kretser shows us that, in the 21st century, they belong wherever they want to and can be--home or away.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:18 -0400)

"Laura Fraser grows up in Sydney, motherless, with a cold father and an artistic bent. Ravi Mendes is on the other side of the world--his humble father dead, his mother struggling, determined to succeed in computer science. Their stories alternate throughout-- culminating in unlikely fates for them both, destinies influenced by travel--voluntary in her case, enforced in his. With money from an inheritance, Laura sets off to see the world, returning to Sydney to work for a travel guide. There she meets Ravi, a Sri Lankan political exile who wants only to see a bit of Australia and make a living" -- from dust jacket.… (more)

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