cover image Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent

Fearless: One Woman, One Kayak, One Continent

Joe Glickman. Globe Pequot/FalconGuides, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-7627-7287-2

Travel writer and kayaker Glickman (The Kayak Companion) noted early on during his conversations with Freya Hoffmeister%E2%80%94the 46-year old German mother of one who completed the 9,420-mile trip around Australia alone in a kayak over the course of 332 days%E2%80%94that his interviewee, while no doubt fearless, was also "blunt, dismissive," and remarkably vain, "unwilling or unable to carry on a conversation that wasn't about her." But that's not to say her story isn't an interesting one. Bulwarked by her go-to rhetorical question-cum-life philosophy, "Vasdaproblum?," Hoffmeister mostly refuses to engage with Glickman's pressing questions regarding her motivations and aspirations, though at one point she admits that "No one who is paddling around Australia is happy at home." Glickman's character study takes the forefront, as the author does little to disguise his incredulity%E2%80%94and concomitant admiration, as a fellow kayaker%E2%80%94at her adventurous attitude and physical prowess. Unfortunately, Glickman occasionally gets out of his depth and one senses he's likely too close to his subject to maintain a proper journalistic distance, but overall his newest is a quick and entertaining read. (Feb.)