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The New Granta Book of Travel Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Drawing on 14 years of travel writing from Granta magazine, it includes the work of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, WG Sebald, Kathleen Jamie and many more. Bookseller
Jobey's judicious selection includes many pieces by newer writers such as Decca Aitkenhead and Kathleen Jamie. Giles Foden, Conde Nast Traveller

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Granta has long been known for the quality of its travel writing. The 1980s were the culmination of a golden age, when writers including Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin, James Hamilton-Paterson and James Fenton set out to document life in largely unfamiliar territory, bringing back tales of the beautiful, the extraordinary and the unexpected. By the mid 1990s, travel writing seemed to change, as a younger generation of writeres that appeared in the magazine made journeys for more complex and often personal reasons. Decca Aitkenhead reported on sex tourism in Thailand, and Wendell Steavenson moved to Iraq as foreign correspondent. What all these pieces have in common is a sense of engagement with the places they describe, and a belief that whether we are in Birmingham or Belarus, there is always something new to be discovered.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847084885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847084880
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In his comprehensive introduction to the "New Granta Book of Travel," Jonathan Raban entices by asking why it is we read travel narratives.

Raban says we turn to travel stories because they represent an escape, a means to "take us to places that we think of as being too dangerous, too difficult, or too expensive to visit for ourselves." We get to become a little familiar with places remote.

Travel stories, invariably written in the first person, also give us a way to talk about ourselves. It's all me, me, me and where the "I" of the story is not merely a reporter and an eyewitness but an active participant.

Many of the 23 stories in the "Book of Travel" are extremely personal, almost private. In "Trespass," Paul Theroux, recounts a sexual adventure 40 years before in Malawi in Africa where he came to understand what it meant to be an American, a foreigner and a wanderer among strangers.

Fleeing Uganda, Albino Ochero-Okello, seeks political asylum in England in "Arrival." British immigration officials send the frightened, wary asylum seeker on a solo public transportation journey from Gatwick airport to temporary lodging in a hostel in far away West London. The trip from airport to hostel is the Ugandan's introduction to English manners and rectitude. Among many marvels, he discovers that train travel in England takes place without the accompaniment of cattle, goats, pigs, chickens and varieties of agricultural produce.

In "When I was Lost," the author descends in an egg-like submersible three miles below the surface of the Atlantic. He discovers what isolation and detachment can really mean. Sexual tourism in Thailand is the subject of Decca Aitkenhead's "Lovely Girls, Very Cheap.
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