I first met Maggie Shipstead in 2011 when she was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She had not yet published her first novel, Seating Arrangements, which would later become a New York Times bestseller, but even then the magnitude of her ambition, shrewdness, and intellectual generosity was evident....more
Posts Tagged: travel writing
At the Public Domain Review, Nandini Das revisits The Principle Navigations and argues that the massive folio of travel writings compiled by Richard Hakluyt in 1589 is more than an artifact of British colonialism. It also memorializes, “the elusive traces of those who disappeared, the disappointment of the non-event, the tedium of travel, and the absence of wonder” that characterized the era for many who lived through it....more
As both a storyteller and a stylist, Braverman is remarkably skilled, with a keen sense of visceral detail … that borders on sublime.
Antiguan-American novelist Jamaica Kincaid has often made the island a centerpiece of her writing. New York Times travel editor Monica Drake recounts visiting Antigua alongside Kincaid’s words—an alternative to the dominant, colonialist narrative around the island:
The tension that we’d accumulated in our daily lives seemed to float into the distance.
At the New York Times, Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., writes about how a national park in Montana left an indelible mark on her and her marriage:
We were both intoxicated by the place, not only by its beauty but by the feeling of remoteness that is as much psychological as geographic.
The woman looked at me when she finished reading, smiling, expecting me to compliment her English. But I couldn’t speak, moved beyond words by a sense of homecoming in this place so far from home.
Italian novelist, essayist, and scholar Umberto Ecco passed away last Friday. The Paris Review has republished an essay by Ecco that originally appeared in its pages back in 1994. “Traveling with a Salmon” is about traveling with a salmon, but also about communication:
My recent journey was brief: one day in Stockholm and three in London.
As I discovered during a visit in September, the series of books offered a unique view of this complicated city, leading me away from popular tourist sites and helping to explain the city’s social, economic and geographic divisions. To view the Naples of Ms.
First, Brandon Hicks allows us a peek into psychological disorders of the animal kingdom, the most elite bars in the world, and more in “Just Some Jokes.”...more
To form secrets with a city is to treat it like a lover, to imagine you know it better than anyone, but to still expect it to surprise you for years to come. It is the secret to all rewarding travel and to inspired living.
All of which adds up to a place that produces writers the way France produces cheese — prodigiously, and with world-class excellence — a place that calls on its writers’ talent and inspiration and, in turn, is reflected back into the world through their words.
In the middle of a digression on the bar scene in Kansas, Edmund White took a moment to question its authenticity:
Sometimes gay friends my age or older ask me if I ever miss the good-bad old days before gay liberation.
“We’re doing this because we’re buds and we’re starting new books. We’ve always talked our ideas through with each other; it’s always helped. Through these conversations, we’ve grown as writers together.”
Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey have been longtime friends. Now, both with new novels on the way, they have embarked on a five day trip through America to talk about their writing....more
The New York Times Book Review recently published a summer reading special issue. In it, the terrific British travel writer and novelist Lawrence Osborne has an essay on travel writing, along with some summer reading recommendations. He writes about books by John Waters, Iain Sinclair, and Tim Butcher and ruminates on what we look for in travel writing....more
Since I was old enough to set out on my own I have been an avid traveler. I turned this obsession into a profession seven years ago when I became a foreign correspondent for the New York Times…
Nicolas Kulish, the East Africa correspondent for the New York Times, co-authored a book on Aribet Heim, “a Nazi concentration camp doctor who fled postwar justice in Germany.” In order to put together a book that, in many ways, is a biography, Kulish spent over half a decade traveling through Denmark, Austria, Egypt, Morocco, and Germany....more
I came from, not a small town, but basically not a very interesting place…So it was very important for me not to rebel but simply to get away, to go away.
Travel writing doesn’t have to be lackluster. It can be smart and a pleasure to read, a form of literature in its own right, as Paul Theroux, Ryszard Kapuściński, Peter Matthiessen, and Jan Morris demonstrate in their work....more
The piece, entitled “Beirut Rising,” “entertains with its amusing depiction of the Lebanese passion for plastic surgery, but the essay also penetrates deep into to the sadness at the city’s core.”
In order to highlight the piece, VQR‘s Anna Sheaffer asked Michelle 6 questions to “get her thoughts on Beirut’s political future, travel writing, and reporting in territory where journalists are suspect.”...more
A review of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, by Paul Theroux...more