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by Keath Fraser
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679729089, Paperback)Half the pleasure of reading the stories collected together in Bad Trips, an anthology of travel writing, is imagining the authors so wonderfully out of place! Picture Indian author Anita Desai in wintry Norway or proper British writer Jonathan Raban in a seamy Louisiana pool hall. Italian semiotician Umberto Eco in Southern California? David Mamet in the Caribbean? Before you've even started, you know it's going to be good. The stories range from laugh-out-loud funny (Martin Amis on the start of a harrowing flight from London: "When it comes to flying, I am a nervous passenger but a confident drinker and Valium-swallower. And although I wasn't exactly goosing the stewardesses or singing 'Viva Espana'... I was certainly in holiday mood....") to the poignant. (James Trevor describing his worst journey, the trip he took back to an Irish boarding school when he was 12: "By the time we reached Bunclody the odour of long-boiled cabbage that hung about the school's kitchen and dining room was beginning to mingle with the bus's exhaust fumes. By Kildavin, the noise of the play yard echoed; by Tullow, Monsieur Bertain was striking the blackboard in a fury. 'Tell us why, if you would,' the sarcastic science master invited in Rathvilly. 'Tell us why you lack intelligence.'")
Some of the authors included in this anthology are well known in other genres--Eco, Mamet, and John Updike, for example--while others such as Jan Morris and Redmond O'Hanlon have made a name for themselves primarily as travel writers; but whether you recognize the names or not, you'll find all the stories in Bad Trips well worth reading and then coming back to time and again.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:32 -0400)
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