Nomad's Hotel

Nomad's Hotel

Travels in Time and Space

Book - 2007
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Since making his first voyage as a sailor-to earn his passage from his native Holland to South America -- Cees Nooteboom has been captivated by foreign countries and cultures and has never stopped travelling. This collection of his most enjoyable travel pieces ranges far and wide, informed throughout by the author's humanity and gentle humour. From exotic locales such as Isfahan, the Gambia and Mali to more familiar places such as Australia and Zurich, Nooteboom reveals the world as he lives it, showing us the strangeness in places we thought we knew and the familiarity of places most of us will never visit. His phenomenal gifts as an observer and travel the wealth of his reading and learning make him a delightful companion. Nomad's Hotel features an introduction from fellow world-class traveller and writer extraordinaire Alberto Manguel.

Publisher: Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 2007.
ISBN: 9781553653226
155365322X
Characteristics: 242 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Kelland, Ann

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Jul 19, 2011

This book is rather difficult to review. I had expected some light travel stories after the heavier reading I had done recently – that is certainly not what I found.

This is not a traditional travel narrative. In fact, in some cases, the travel is almost incidental. It is a collection of 13 essays, each written in and about a different place, and spanning the years from 1971 to 2002. It is not presented in chronological order. It is a series of insightful musings and meditations - on time, travel, war, history, art, literature, hotels - each triggered by the locale but not necessarily about the locale. As much about intellectual travel as physical travel. It is, however, at times humorous, at times moving. The locations are diverse – from Venice and Munich to the Aran Isles to Australia to Gambia and Mali.

The writing is excellent (the author is considered by some to be one of the greatest living novelists) but often quite esoteric. The author occasionally switches to referring to himself in the third person. The book should be read partly as philosophy rather than solely as a travel book. The reader needs to approach the book slowly and thoughtfully, contemplating the author’s observations along the way. I was not in that frame of mind so did not get the full benefit of the book. For those who appreciate a literary and intellectual book that includes some interesting travel information, it would be well worth reading.

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