EASTWARD HA! by S.J. Perelman
Kirkus Star


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When a certain ""florid, apopteptic septuagenarian with granny glasses"" embarked on a trip 'round the world, it was The New Yorker's loss and Travel & Leisure's gain, as our greatest living humorist turned travel correspondent, his chewy, fantastical muse only slightly stifled by the duty to play it straight--occasionally--in these nine reports from Europe, Asia, and darkest L.A. In Scotland, all is emphatically kosher-Gaelic, on a pussycat-hunt that leads from a pub (""the Star & Kreplach"") to the fief of Gornicht Kinhelfinn to Manor Sheviss, the seat of the Homintashes. Then Ah! Oy! Paris!, where the French government--""our fiendishness unchanged""--conspires to make SJP's stay at the Hotel of the Cheap Valises expensive and painful . . . despite the titillating presence of Suzy La Genereuse and a Tarot-reader's acute analysis: ""Prouder than a Spanish don, you nonetheless succumb to every pretty ankle, stoop to less than the dust beneath their chariot wheel."" True Perelmanic bile, however, is reserved for Russia--icon poisoning, warm orange crush with blinis made of flannel, and Liz Taylor on location, who confides: ""A commissar took me to a symposium of Friedrich Engels, blew me to a dish of salted cucumbers, and made me walk home."" And for Israel, again the food (""Wrap it in Kleenex and file it in the next cloaca""), the self-absorbed populace (""Israel's No. 1 Perfume--Say It With CHUTZPAH""), and: ""What magic, what ingenuity and manpower it had taken to recreate Grossinger's, the Miami Fontainebleau, and the Concord Hotel on a barren strand in the Near East!"" Turkey, Iran, and Southeast Asia--notwithstanding Roxana, ""her great mascara-trimmed eyes, awash in carbohydrates"" --elicit more and more reality in the sightseeing, even ""immensely moving"" experiences. Feh! Still, nonetheless, and anyway, ""Is all in readiness, then, to welcome back that acclaimed boulevardier, Feinschmecker, and Yankee globetrotter which he is without peer in this century if one overlook Wilfred Thesiger, Henri de Monfried, and Freya Stark?"" Aye! Mais oui! Da! You betcha.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Simon & Schuster