A Few Perfect Hours: And Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe

Josh Neufeld, Author . Josh Neufeld $12.95 (108p) ISBN 978-1-891867-79-8

Neufeld and his girlfriend, Sari, have traveled all over the world, and like all travelers, they've come back with stories. Unlike most travelers, though, Neufeld makes a point of trying to understand what these stories mean, why he reacts to his experiences the way he does and what results from the friction between his own culture and the cultures where he's a tourist. That comes to a head in this work's final tale, "Cremations, Cubicles & Cant," in which Neufeld considers the death and funeral of his grandmother in the context of his travels, and the significance of funeral rites within and outside her community. In another story, Neufeld tries to imagine his uneasy interaction with a Serbian ice cream salesman from the other man's perspective. The book's highlight is "The Cave of Fear," a story about a day trip in Thailand. Neufeld is drawn to the trip's potential for danger, and what might ordinarily be a merely entertaining anecdote becomes the occasion for lucid, unsparing self-examination. Neufeld draws himself as a slightly neurotic caricature, and his backgrounds show how salient details can be reduced to a few clear lines. He has an appealingly clean visual style and uses it to highlight the differences between his tourist self and his surroundings. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/25/2004
Release date: 05/01/2011
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