- Paperback: 247 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks (June 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402215169
- ISBN-13: 978-1402215162
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,236,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Trance After Breakfast: And Other Passages Paperback – June 1, 2009
From Publishers Weekly
Novelist, essayist, editor and NPR mainstay Cheuse (To Catch the Lightning, Listening to the Page) compiles a highly literate travelogue from material previously published in Gourmet, the Antioch Review and elsewhere. In "Reading the Archipelago," Cheuse's survey of Indonesia-centric literature is so compelling it will make readers want to pick up some Conrad and Melville. The clever "Thirty-five Passages Over Water" covers notable journeys, the parts that come before or after the destination, moving backward in time. "CODA: Two Oceans" evokes the Jersey native's Atlantic/Pacific memories. The title piece recounts Bali's atmosphere of spirituality, but isn't as strong as his reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro: "the great crossing point, nexus of cultures, nexus of countries, nexus of vision, nexus of borderlands between first world and third"; he's just as piercing regarding the psychology of those who make the trip across. Though it starts slow, three Mexico narratives prove splendid enough to forgive; Cheuse's eclectic journeys shine a spotlight on one of the greatest rewards of travel, "to know... something quite valuable that had never occurred to us before."
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""It's very good to travel with Cheuse, the literate Jersey boy who's lived long enough to think it's time to see the rest of the world. As our guide, he's seeing it all for the first time, just like we are (though he's read about it), so that he's dazzled, moved, impressed, shocked, instructed and provoked. He is us, in other words. And he relishes the vast world outside his ken as if it were a rare jewel." --Richard Ford" -
""This is how I want to learn to travel, with Alan Cheuse's eye and ear and brain and, most of all, heart. 'A love affair of fierce currents,' indeed. A Trance After Breakfast will endure as a model for the engaged explorer, even the armchair sort." --Josephine Humphreys" -
""Alan Cheuse's evocations of place the water world of his youth on the Jersey shore, his tramps in Bali and New Zealand, his inquiries on California's border with Mexico are Whitmanesque in their enthusiasm and captivating in all their particulars. His observations on the way various writers have approached southeast Asian settings in their novels, on the one hand, and his thoughts on Jewish cultural life in Mexico, on the other, are the reflections of a charming and original mind." --Barry Lopez
"Alan Cheuse is a pleasurable traveling companion not merely because of the keenness of his eye but also because of the richness of his vision and his evocative prose. " - Shelf Awareness
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Top customer reviews
In reading "A Trance After Breakfast," you'll learn how to take your travel experience and make something it more. We observe Cheuse's simple narrative style, which succeeds because of his ability to remain aware. In doing so, he makes something more of himself because of his travels.
Most pieces in this book have appeared elsewhere, such as "Gourmet," "The San Diego Reader," and literary magazines. We tag along as Cheuse travels in Mexico, Bali, New Zealand, and less exotic locales, full of shared insights.
Two of the longer pieces, "Port of Entry" and "Mexican Rabbi," which explores Jewish cultural life in Mexico, first appeared in "The San Diego Reader." We see Cheuse as an extraordinary combination of the wandering traveler and self-described pilgrim. He tags along with the border guards in his poignant essay, "Port of Entry," observing San Ysidro Port of Entry, often called the world's busiest land border crossing. Cheuse lets us observe U.S. Customs officials as they manage the border crossing traffic. We peer into the lives of the border agents, who work two shifts each day, and witness the sad and scared eyes of people caught in desperate attempts to escape from Mexico to America, which he calls the "United States of Helpless Dreamers."
"A Trance After Breakfast" is a rich blend of travel and personal essays, and a model of narrative non-fiction only a good story-teller could weave. Release Your Writing: Book Publishing, Your Way
Alan Cheuse weaves in wonderful and woesome moments that occur when crossing borders and becoming fully immersed one's surroundings. My favorite part of the journey: The Watery Part of the World.
Read A Trance After Breakfast with an open mind and open heart. It is an intensly personal narrative that lingers in the heart and soul long after the journey ends.
essays on NPR and sticking to the NPR line. His writing is pathetic and would never be published, but for his
radio job. Don't trust me. Check it out for yourself. Remember a tree died for his pathetic effort.