REFLECTIONS IN A WRITER'S EYE: Travel Pieces by Angus Wilson


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An offering of personal travel pieces republished from a variety of journals and newspapers, spanning the period from 1957-1983. Wilson, English novelist, critic, playwright, and biographer, gives us his insights into the characters of the peoples he visits, which can be both engrossing and cutting. Here is no common tourist. Every episode is a moment to ponder the human condition. Wilson works in a long tradition of English travel writing, a distinctive literary form of its own. There is humor here, but it is always used to garner a glimpse into a culture's soul. Cruising for a parking space in Arizona, Wilson's car was stopped by a policeman, who inquired of its purpose. Wilson's driver answered, ""I'm looking for a vacant space,"" to which the policeman rejoined, ""Well, why don't you use your head?"" Wilson adds, ""He was so pleased with his quip that he fired off a couple of rounds from his gun."" In that short episode, Wilson captures the essence of the Old West that still pervades some of our Western states. There are nostalgic looks at Brighton, reflections of a zoo-lover, a peek at Khrushchev on holiday at the Black Sea, reports on Tokyo, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. The book suffers only from a slight feeling of being dated (some pieces are three decades old); somehow, we just know that we are reading of things that no longer exist in our raucous, dangerous world. Otherwise, there are many delights here. A good book for light vacation reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking