P D Dawson
Granta 138: Journeys (Book Review)
A wonderful collection of stories, mostly non-fiction this time around, all about travel and the many places people move to in their lives. Also the question is posed to a few writers of whether or not travel writing is dead. I'm guessing the question was prompted by the internet and how easy it is to find out about places for yourself these days, instead of relying on that trusted travel writer for all the answers. The responses all seem to concur with the general idea that travel writing never was just that, and that all writing, to a certain extent, is essentially travel writing, of one persons account of their place in the world and what it means to them. Definitely food for thought there, and a satisfying and hope driven response to the question rather than a negative one. Travel writing it seems has merely changed shape and evolved to suit the current climate of writers world wide, and if anything it has made travel writing less generalising and more personal. As for the stories in this Granta collection, I must say that I enjoyed them all for their differences and mix of fiction and non-fiction, but my favourites from this collection were 'Vinyl Road Trip' by David Flusfeder, 'Well Done, No. 3777!' by Xiaolu Guo, and 'Old School' by Xan Rice. I thought the Journeys theme was enjoyable overall and liked the different culturally and geographically styles that its subject permitted.
In the spirit of this book, here's a photo of me on my own journey recently, in the wonderful Austrian Alps.