I Should Have Stayed Home: The Worst Trips of the Great Writers – Roger Rapoport
Jack is doing the Monday book this week (Wendy will do the Wednesday post)
I hardly read novels these days, much preferring history, biography or memoirs. This collection of short stories by fifty well known authors, most of them travel writers, falls into the memoir category I suppose.
I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced a ‘journey from hell’ at some point. Rapoport was able to persuade these well-known authors to contribute their particular ones. Some are funny and others are truly scary!
The idea originated with a student essay competition run in conjunction with a travel writers’ conference and the winning entry is included here.
Among the more famous contributors are Paul Theroux and Barbara Kingsolver and this brings me to the only problem I really have with the collection. Obviously there are great many different writing styles and some appealed to me more than others.
There are stories that focus on the sheer discomfort of certain modes of transport such as a hair-raising ride through the Egyptian desert in an ancient bus with an even more ancient driver. Others are more about culture clash and these tend to be more poignant and reflective.
Perhaps my favorite was about a stay in a supposed hotel that turned out to be a collection of huts that were infested – first of all with cockroaches and then with lizards that ate the cockroaches.
The book held my attention all the way through, though, and I can definitely recommend it as a good bed-time read that can be dipped into a few stories at a time over succeeding nights.
Maybe 4 stars out of 5.