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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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1781966,644 (3.63)1 / 39
Member:jll1976
Title:Questions of Travel: A Novel
Authors:Michelle de Kretser
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2013), Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Read It, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Finished, Australian Author, Miles Franklin

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Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Not surprised that people have found this book tough. The language is fine but you may not get all the references and sometimes there are streams of consciousness that are beautifully poetic but perhaps not driving the story forward. Overall though a nourishing read ( )
  polarbear123 | Apr 26, 2015 |
This highly acclaimed and awarded novel did little to inspire our group. The mingling of Laura and Ravi’s stories tended to confuse rather than bind, and most of us found ourselves lost in the language rather than thriving in it. Not the reaction we generally look for in a novel.

Therefore, our discussion centred mostly around travel verses tourism, as this was the only real theme we could identify with. In doing so, we shared some wonderful travel stories and chatted about the pros and cons of travelling, where it took us and what we gained from it. Most of us have travelled moderate to extensively, so it was a lively discussion.

This was all very interesting, but what were de Kretser’s questions of travel … in other words, what was she trying to say to us in this novel? Cheryle struggled big time with this book and even tackled it by reading all of Ravi’s story first, then going back and reading Laura’s. Not with any great success, but at least she gave it an honest shot!

In the end we came to the conclusion that literary fiction may not be our ideal read … but as a book club we are always up to the challenge. ( )
  DaptoLibrary | Dec 18, 2014 |
Beautiful writing but too long ( )
  siri51 | Oct 21, 2014 |
Interesting characters. Pace was a bit slow. Ending was a bit of a cop out. ( )
  gregandlarry | Oct 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (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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