Travel Writings

Book - 2016 | First edition.
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The acclaimed, award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays that spans the globe, from the Caribbean to Scotland to the Himalayas.

Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. "Since childhood, I've longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery, and intrigue," he writes in this compelling anthology. The longing for escape has taken him from the "bright green islands and turquoise seas" of the Caribbean islands to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond.

In Voyager, Russell Banks, a lifelong explorer, shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh, with his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset orange metallic Hummer down Alaska's Seward Highway.

In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park this "perfect place to time-travel," he traces his own timeline. "I keep going back, and with increasingly clarity I see more of the place and more of my past selves. And more of the past of the planet as well." Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, "Voyager," Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest of self-discovery. "One climbs a mountain not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky," he explains.

Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, Voyager brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.

Publisher: New York :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780061857676
Characteristics: 272 pages ; 24 cm.


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Nov 05, 2018

Although Banks does go on a bit about his marital misadventures (especially in the first and longest essay), I enjoyed learning more about him since he's one of my favorite novelists. He's also traveled to some unusual destinations and provides a unique perspective on them.

Aug 28, 2016

As good as the writing is, I didn't make it past the first, admittedly long, chapter. The writing of course is exquisite. However the author of this mixed up travelogue/memoir spends so much time brag-confessing to his soon-to-be 4th wife about his consistent history of marrying and abandoning wives, along with the series of daughters he has begat, that this reader got fed up and quit. His falsely modest, aw shucks trail of the seduced and abandoned - o gawd, his torment, his heartbreak, the women and children could not possibly suffered as he suffered!! - absolutely not charming. Why this obviously competent independent woman didn't roll her eyes and bolt is beyond me. As is the necessity to smear up great travel writing with Banks' garment-rending angst. Nope, not recommended.

ChristchurchLib Aug 09, 2016

Though Russell Banks is known for acclaimed novels such as Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter (which have both been made into award-winning movies), he now turns his keen eye to travel writing. In Voyager, his thought-provoking essays vary in time (taking place over several decades), place (destinations include the Andes, Cuba, Florida, Alaska, North Carolina, Scotland, and the Caribbean), and purpose (such as fun, work, a college reunion, and eloping with his fourth wife). As the essays coalesce, they provide an intimate examination of Banks' life as well as an evocative look at the world.

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