Letters to Zerky: A Father's Legacy to a Lost Son... and a Road Trip Around the World

Bill Raney, Author, Joanne Walker Raney, Author
Bill Raney and Joanne Walker Raney, Nickelodeon (www.LettersToZerky.com), $27 (436p) ISBN 978-0-9821384-0-3
Open Ebook - 436 pages - 978-0-9821384-2-7
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-0-9821384-4-1
Paperback - 436 pages - 978-0-9821384-1-0
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In this plodding memoir, Bill and Joanne Raney recount a cross-continent trip that began in 1967 with a flight from San Francisco to Munich and took the couple across Europe and Asia in a Volkswagen bus with infant son Xerxes (the titular Zerky) and headstrong dachshund Tarzan in tow. Written in two voices—Joanne's diary entries and Bill's letters to Xerxes—the Raneys record daily events and interactions, from the epic (visiting the Taj Majal, witnessing a Hindu funeral) to the mundane (exchanging money in Iran, border crossings, gastrointestinal illnesses) with equal zeal, often omitting important historical, geopolitical, and regional information. Not without its moments—some of them genuinely touching—the book remains an often banal account of an epic journey without the revelations or insight one would expect from two hippies in the tumultuous 1960s.
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