cover image Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place

Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place

Joan Frank. Univ. of New Mexico, $19.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-8263-6137-0

“Place is identity, style, faith, cosmology” notes fiction writer Frank (All the News I Need) in this collection of 16 scintillating essays on travels that map psychological interiors as much as they do geographic landscapes. “Cake-Frosting Country” is a delightful memoir of Frank’s many sojourns in France, and the episodic “In Case of Firenze” tracks the highlights and disappointments of an extended stay in Florence. Frank universalizes her experiences as a traveler in essays such as “Shake Me Up, Judy,” about the anxieties travelers must overcome to make a trip, but she also reminds the reader that every trip is personal in the book’s most poignant selections: “Cave of the Iron Door,” about her return to her childhood home in Arizona, where her mother committed suicide, and “Little Traffic Light Men,” in which a trivial mishap during a visit to Germany triggers a devastating memory of the death of her sister. Frank’s rich, imagery-driven prose lends immediacy to her observations. This is a perfect book for readers to take on their travels, even if they’re only going as far as the armchair. (Feb.)