THE BACK OF BEYOND: Travels to the Wild Places of  by David Yeadon
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THE BACK OF BEYOND: Travels to the Wild Places of

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Big, vigorous, hugely entertaining book of travels off-the-beaten-path by veteran travel-writer Yeadon (Nooks and Crannies of New York, 1979, etc.). If the crowd goes one way, Yeadon goes the other. In Venezuela, he quits Caracas in search of Arthur Conan Doyle's "Lost World," finding it in the high plateaus that tower over the Amazon jungle. In Haiti ("Africa, Arizona, and the Caribbean all rolled into one"), he visits areas where whites like himself never go, and blunders into an authentic voodoo ceremony. In Costa Rica, he tracks monkeys and turtles; in Morocco, he crosses the Sahara with Tuareg nomads; in Greece, he finds the "ultimate unspoiled island"; in Iran, he bumps over terrible roadways to go wild-boar hunting in the Turkoman region. Most impressive, perhaps, is his brief penetration of India's terrible wasteland, the Rann of Kutch, "the largest area of nothingness on the planet." Other outings land him in Thailand, Hong Kong, Mongolia, China (Beijing is a "totalitarian dream"), and--less impressive by far--Scotland and England. These forays into foreign lands are recounted with enthusiasm, humor, good will, and a knack for catching the endearing foibles of folk he meets along the way. What separates this from the work of writers like Paul Theroux is Yeadon's occasional slide into clichÇ ("travel indeed has many dimensions"; "a small plane is pure magic," etc.) and--not necessarily a drawback--the lack of an eccentric voice. Illustrated by Yeadon's own b&w line drawings, which offer lovely landscapes but clumsy human faces. All in all: a tizzy of a trip.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1990
ISBN: 06-016583-9
Publisher: HarperCollins
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