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Bad Trips Paperback – April 16, 1991
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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
- Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Wondervu, Col.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
But in Bad Trips, the editor gives us a few funny stories along with tales alternately grim, gruesome, and depressing beyond all description. Just a few examples of the topics covered: a walk through a refugee village full of starving children, the torture, death, and dismemberment of civilians in El Salvador, the city of Hue shortly after it was destroyed by the Vietcong and American armies. These are important tales, and they need to be told, but they seem somewhat inappropriate for a book purporting to be a light-hearted, funny, travel anthology.
The editor made a few other strange decisions in assembling this collection, and while one works, most don't. I laud his attempt to include the work of some great writers, and this pays off: the selections by David Mamet, Anita Desai, Martin Amis, and John Updike are wonderful, and there's a poem by Al Purdy that every off-the-beaten-track traveler should read. But the book also includes a number of extracts from works of fiction, which jars - part of the joy of travel stories is that they're *true*.
Overall, the strength of some of the individual selections doesn't make up for the strange choices the editor has made. Look for it used, or check it out of the library.
On the positive side, quite the cast of authors has been assembled, and they can indeed write. The variety of places and circumstances is impressive. I found at least half the stories interesting and worth reading.
As adventure travel, it doesn't compare to anything by Tim Cahill for excitement and uniqueness, or to William Least Heat-Moon for depth and powers of observation, but it'll do.
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.
But having said that, this book would definitely benefit by being 100 or so pages shorter; after awhile the essays got repetitive (especially after I got off the bus and started reading at home!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Called Worst Journeys chez nous. Odd mix of famous names and, um, Canadians. Surprise, surprise, the Canuks come off best. Skip the poetryPublished on April 21, 2014 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 on February 2, 2014 by michael ulin edwards
Like another reviewer, I expected this to be a collection of travel nightmare stories. You know, disasters so terrible that they become quite interesting and amusing. Read morePublished on February 16, 2011 by C. P. Anderson
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