An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing Trips from 35 Great Writers

Edited by Don George and Samantha Forge. Lonely Planet, $15.99 trade paper (318p) ISBN 978-1-74360-360-4
From Cold War Yugoslavia to modern-day Yemen, Lonely Planet’s latest collection of nonfiction travel stories doesn’t leave a stone or continent unturned. Readers will relish Simon Winchester’s boyhood tale of a near-death experience in the Arctic Circle and Marina Lewycka’s vodka-soaked narrative of being stranded at a Russian summer camp. Other stories, such as Alexander McCall Smith’s brush with murder in Swaziland and Ann Patchett’s tale of friendship formed while backpacking around Europe, focus on the loss of innocence. A few of the selections are plagued by clichés of the travel genre: overly sentimental, boastful, or boring. Personal narratives of David Baldacci discovering his familial ancestry in Italy and Mary Karr’s trek through the Guatemalan jungle are among those that fail to hit the mark. But high-quality tales from John Berendt, Cheryl Strayed, Tim Cahill, and Anna Vodicka are enough to keep readers paging through this enjoyable collection. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
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