Without a Guide: Contemporary Women's Travel Adventures

Katherine Govier, Editor Ruminator Books $16 (234p) ISBN 978-1-886913-04-2
Despite a very witty introduction from Govier (Hearts of Flame) and some big-name contributors, this collection of travel essays remains unfocused and its juxtapositions of wildly differing subjects jarring. In a poignant examination of what it means to travel for pleasure, Clare Boylan accompanies her mother on the latter's first trip ever (""except to Blackpool on her honeymoon and three times to the maternity ward""). In the next entry, Wendy Law-Yone describes escaping from Burma in 1967 to be with her foreign husband. Susan Musgrave's essay about leaving her husband to travel to Panama with her drug-dealer boyfriend is fascinating, not because it is lurid but because it is so everyday. Irene Guilford retraces the steps her mother took in leaving Lithuania in 1944; and in a very different kind of homecoming, Michelene Adams returns to her birthplace in Trinidad and comes to terms with how she has become, in some aspects, a foreigner. Alice Walker's loose descriptions of photos from her trip to China are occasionally schmaltzy (""I must fly to see even more of the Earth I love""), but her images of African Americans traveling in that country (one of their Chinese hosts sings ""Old Black Joe"" to impress with her knowledge of African American culture) are incisive. E. Annie Proulx strikes a humorous tone in her recounting of an endless train ride during a book tour. Each essay is introduced by the author's own commentary about it, and few of these introductions add anything-except to obviate any surprise contained in the story itself. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-0-921912-75-0
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