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Bad Trips by Keath Fraser

Bad Trips (edition 1991)

by Keath Fraser

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221694,470 (3.26)11
The entries in this collection take us to the farthest extremes of travel with tales of danger, disorientation and bemused discomfort; combines reportage, fiction and poetry representing some of the best-known writers of our time.
Title:Bad Trips
Authors:Keath Fraser
Info:Vintage (1991), Edition: 1, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction Anthology, Mamet

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Bad Trips by Keath Fraser


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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.

From Library Journal
Editor Fraser's compilation is a slight departure from the typical travel book. It is a collection of tales from poets, novelists, and journalists about the worst journeys they have ever taken. Contributing artists and themes include James Fenton in wartime Saigon, Umberto Eco in a tacky hotel in Southern California, Jonathan Raban on a brief trip through the squalor of Louisiana, Wilfred Thesiger on a camel ride across the Arabian desert, and Anita Desai on a frigid, midwinter sojourn to a Norwegian island. The tone ranges from utter terror to outrageous humor. Entertaining and exhilarating, this book is fun for inexperienced travelers or those who have journeyed far and shared similar feelings.
- Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Wondervu, Col.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap
in this collection take us to the farthest extremes of travel with tales of danger, disorientation and bemused discomfort; combines reportage, fiction and poetry representing some of the best-known writers of our time.

About the Author
Keath Fraser is the editor of the nonfiction anthology Bad Trips. He is a recipient of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, which he won for Popular Anatomy.
  Alhickey1 | Jan 22, 2020 |
Travel stories anthology.
  Alhickey1 | Feb 28, 2018 |
The entries in this collection take us to the farthest extremes of travel with tales of danger, disorientation and bemused discomfort; combines reportage, fiction and poetry representing some of the best-known writers of our time.

As with any anthology, this collection of travel stories includes a range of quality. Some of these stories are quite good, transporting the reader to a specific place and time, immersing us in the writer’s experiences. Others are a bit more pedestrian, providing some interesting glimpses at other places, but failing to truly allow the reader go along for the ride. This is range is also probably somewhat subjective, as different readers may well connect with different stories and writing styles. Overall, though, this book is effective as showing the myriad difficulties and troubles that can arise to result in a ‘bad trip’.

Anyone who has done any significant traveling probably has their share of stories of trips gone wrong. As we face these travel trials, we find little comfort in the commonality of such experiences, or the fact that they will likely create the best stories about our trips. At the time, they are simply too aggravating, miserable, or plain painful for us to appreciate in these ways. However, as the stories in this book show, such experiences are often both memorable and interesting, which makes them great material for excellent travel writing. We all can empathize with these authors and their struggles, while being thankful that we only have to experience them vicariously. As with all good travel writing, the best of these stories help us to experience the world in places and ways that we are not likely to ever experience personally.

After reading these stories, it will be interesting to see how I react the next time I find myself facing some problem or unexpected trouble on a trip. These stories should help me keep my difficulties in perspective and recognize that these experiences are part of the nature of travel.
  Alhickey1 | Oct 24, 2017 |
Bad Trips is a thick compilation of travel memoirs, a few novel excerpts and a couple of poems, all with the theme of travel and exploration that didn't go so well. A few are humorous- David Mamet's piece about his wife forcing him to relax on a brief family vacation and Indian author Anita Desai's essay on being sent to a small Norwegian island as part of a UN exchange program of women writers. Many of the pieces are harrowing. Martin Amis describes his plane making a sudden emergency landing after a bomb threat. George Woodcock writes about the depression of spending the day in a small Welsh village after the local industry had been shut down, leaving the inhabitants almost entirely unemployed and scrounging for food and heat. Mary Morris watches a young man fall to his death at a Mexican waterfall. There's a section devoted to war memoirs that covers Vietnam, several Middle East locations, and a piece by actor Dirk Bogarde about the horrors he saw in WWII.

So, maybe not something you'd want to read as you pack for your own trip, but a good read at other times, and the choice of authors is very good: Updike, Graham Greene, J.M. Coetzee, Eric Hansen, Russell Banks, Paul Theroux, Umberto Eco. ( )
  mstrust | May 19, 2013 |
This is compilation of selected chapters of dozens of travel books. Authors are often top-notch (Umberto Ecco, Graham Greene, John Updike, Peter Mathiessen) .

But the format just doesn't work. I am a lover of travel books. Reading each selection rarely made me feel like I wanted to go further and read the entire book. Ironically, I had read some of these books from which these exerpts came. Bleh. ( )
  Sandydog1 | Sep 14, 2010 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keath Fraserprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abley, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, MartinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Asher, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bail, MurrayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banks, RussellContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bogarde, DirkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brodsky, JosephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Coetzee, J. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conover, TedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Desai, AnitaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eco, UmbertoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fenton, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Findley, TimothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forché, CarolynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Geldof, BobContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gellhorn, MarthaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greene, GrahamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hansen, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoagland, EdwardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hodson, PeregrineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jiles, PauletteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Layton, IrvingContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, NormanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mamet, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Manguel, AlbertoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marnham, PatrickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Matthiessen, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Metcalf, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mills, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mistry, RohintonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morris, JanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morris, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Newby, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nicholl, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Hanlon, RedmondContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Page, P. K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Purdy, AlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raban, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ryle, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Salzman, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevens, StuartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Theroux, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thesiger, WilfredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thubron, ColinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trevor, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, HugoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Woodcock, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wright, RonaldContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Young, GavinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name.

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The entries in this collection take us to the farthest extremes of travel with tales of danger, disorientation and bemused discomfort; combines reportage, fiction and poetry representing some of the best-known writers of our time.

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