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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.
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.
The perfect book to read on a long Greyhound bus trip- you can remind yourself that even if everything takes a few more hours than you would like, and even if you have to get up at... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Michael Lewyn
Called Worst Journeys chez nous. Odd mix of famous names and, um, Canadians. Surprise, surprise, the Canuks come off best. Skip the poetryPublished 16 months ago by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
I've traveled. I've experienced bad travel. I've heard stories. Those sorts of tales and experiences are not in this book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by michael ulin edwards
This book tries hard to be poignant, but doesn't make it. Much too depressing, and not entertaining enough.Published on May 17, 2003
A collection of travel writing, mainly excerpts from longer works, although a few are short essays, describing those trips that--well, did not seem quite so fun at the time, but... Read morePublished on September 11, 2002 by Glen Engel Cox