The Best American Travel Writing 2013

Edited by Elizabeth Gilbert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-547-80898-7
Guest editor Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) anthologizes a variety of pieces that adhere to her maxim, "No story is automatically interesting; only the telling makes it so." Among the 19 contributors, John Jeremiah Sullivan reflects on a journey to Cuba to visit his wife's family, capturing both the picturesque landscape and the inherent strangeness of being an American there. Colleen Kinder recalls wearing a niqab to a marketplace while on assignment in Cairo. In "The Year I Didn't," Daniel Tyx lampoons self-indulgent travel trend pieces, writing about the road not travelled at all as he opts out of his plan to walk the U.S-Mexico border. Peter Jon Lindberg embraces the idyllic at Pine Point, Maine, and David Farley seeks an elusive recipe in Vietnam made exclusively by one family for generations. Sam Anderson muses on the nature of literary tourism on his trip to the English theme park Dickens World, while Marie Arana provides a hard-hitting look at child labor and the exploitation of workers at a Peruvian gold mine, articulating a powerful plea for the education of young girls. Lynn Yaeger's "Confessions of a Packing Maximalist" addresses the preparation stage of travel and adding a light-hearted touch to the collection. Gilbert made excellent choices for this collection, not a single piece is out of place here. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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