MY KIND OF PLACE: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere
Orlean (The Orchid Thief ) hasn't so much been everywhere as she's been everywhere no one else has thought to go. In this collection, she focuses not on cities but on singular locales and events. She zooms in on an African music shop in Paris, a grocery store in Queens and a fertility blessing ceremony in Bhutan. Belying the book's bland title, Orlean's essays are rich in color, metaphor and crafty language. For example, in Iceland, "the wind never huffs or puffs but simply blows your house down." Orlean's subtle humor infuses her writing as she uncovers strange beauties: a taxidermy convention is "a surreal carnality, but all conveyed with the usual trade show earnestness and hucksterism, with no irony and no acknowledgment that having buckets of bear noses for sale was anything out of the ordinary." Orlean uses the word "travel" loosely; "I view all stories as journeys," she explains. Indeed, many of the final pieces aren't grounded by place, but they nicely round out an insightful collection by an exceptional essayist. Agent, Richard Pine . (On sale Nov. 2)
Forecast: This is Orlean's first book since the release of Adaptation (based on The Orchid Thief), which helped the author gain widespread recognition. Author publicity, a reading tour and print ads could make this a popular holiday pick. Simultaneous audio release.
Release date: 11/01/2004