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Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) [Kindle Edition]

Alexander McCall Smith , Kurt Andersen , Stefan Merrill Block , Bryce Courtenay , M J Hyland , Peter Matthiessen , Frances Mayes , Joyce Carol Oates , Tea Obreht , DBC Pierre , Don George
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

A collection of original travel stories told by some of the world's best novelists, including Isabel Allende, Keri Hulme, Peter Matthiessen, Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, Tea Obreht and DBC Pierre.
Exhilaratingly varied in place, plot, and voice, these tales all share one common characteristic: They manifest a passion for the precious gifts that travel confers, from its unexpected but inevitably enriching lessons about other peoples and places to the truths - sometimes uncomfortable but always enlarging - it reveals about ourselves.

'... a brilliant collection of travel stories ... threaded with great warmth, as readers are invited to travel in the company of these famous authors and experience their passions and revelations.' Bookseller+Publisher

Product Description


Perceptive Travel, September 2013 A fine anthology, with numerous fiction writers from Australia and New Zealand joining their colleagues from the UK and the US. Alaskan Apple Users Group Blog, February 7, 2013 "Better Than Fiction" is a fun collection of travel tales, that I enjoyed reading a few at a time, each joyously took me away from the daily world into a far away place with a few laughs along the way. A Traveler s Library, January 18, 2013 The best of the essays are very personal experiences with meticulous description of place. Gadling, January 7, 2013 For anyone who considers themselves a voracious consumer of travel writing, "Better Than Fiction" will make for a refreshing and illuminating read. . . . Great travel storytelling, like the work showcased in "Better Than Fiction", reminds us that ultimately discovering the truth about the places we visit involves more than just restating the facts. Midwest Book Review, January 2013 Isabel Allende, Joyce Carol Oates, and more provide warm and lovely stories from an account of an adventure off the beaten path in Malawai to visiting San Quentin Prison and chasing missionaries in far-away regions of Asia. The result is a powerful survey highly recommended for any literary travel collection.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 653 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 1 edition (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743217153
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743217153
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,259 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By David Spanswick VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This wonderful and varied collection of reminiscences by published writers is a joyful thing.

These "travel tales", all, mostly, share a nostalgic longing looking back to those travel adventures that may well have changed lives and have certainly affected the way that the contributors now look at life and are infinitely more interesting than the endless photo albums (now dropbox albums)dragged out to bore friends (not included in the trips).

The writers represented here are all of a certain creme, writers who can afford holidays but more importantly these guys can write; it is their tool, recalling interestingly the events from the world they have ventured out into whether it to a Polynesian arts festival in Tahiti, the World Cup in Cape Town, a Thoreauesque experience in a wrecked trailer to experience Shakespeare in the woods in uptown Nowhere,a witch's curse or a football match in Mexico

Any reader of this collection, and I do urge anybody to take this up and peruse, will find familiar stories of their own experiences ~ those holiday moments that stay with us forever and long after the event and are impossible ever to recapture. These moments are truly once only and need to be enjoyed for themselves; it is not important to report them.

In this collection the two standout memoires for me were Carol Birch's meditative sleep by an indoor lake in an Irish mine and Sophie Cunningham's moving moment of sharing a chocolate cake with a beggar in Calcutta. these are life-changing moments
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By I. Horswell VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a collection of over 30 short true stories written by a range of travel authors, some of whom are very well known. Each story conjures up the sights, smells and experiences often with a salutory learning point for the author. Most tales are only a few pages long, just enough to pique the interest.

Whilst I can devour most books in a few days, I found myself able to only read one story at a time so that I could really savour the experience. This has reawoken my interest in travellers tales and I now have plenty of new authors to follow up. Highly recommended for anyone who loves to explore our world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Collection of Travel Stories 23 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I generally enjoy travel writing and have, at times, found they have inspired me to visit places which I would not otherwise have thought about. I remember reading an excellent book Investment Biker: Around the World with Jim Rogers, many years ago. He wrote about Samarkand in Uzbekistan very positively and as a result we visited this fantastic destination.

These stories are quite short and average about 10 pages or so each. This is something of a double edged sword as the writer does not have time to develop their description of the place they are writing about in much detail. The tendency therefore seems to be that they describe a specific and unusual event that they witnessed or revisit a place that, perhaps they had enjoyed travelling to many years before. However, clearly with such short offerings there is not much scope for the author to get bogged down too much.

I found most of these short tales interesting, but I cannot say that I was particularly inspired to visit anywhere new as a result. However, where I had personally previously visited the country I did find it enjoyable to read about places which I already knew, Berlin being an example. There seemed to be an American bias with a number of stories of coming of age type travels of young Americans.

Lonely Planet have expanded the scope of their offerings of late over and above the classic travel guides on which they have built their reputation. Recent publications have included large, coffee table type books to relatively modest offerings like this particular one and to my mind these ventures have been of varying success. However, I did enjoy reading many of these stories, appropriately enough, whilst I was on a long plane flight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a con 22 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Sold under the banner of Alexander McCall Smith etc but only 1 small story is his out of many worthy but less engaging authors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just as Good as Fiction 11 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Better Than Fiction is a compendium of true travel stories write by famous fiction writers and published by Lonely Planet, the guide book company. In this book of 320 pages there are 32 tales, mostly brief, but extremely varied in location and type. It is rare in any collection of short stories (true or fictional) that I like all of the collection, but in this case I thought they were all of a good standard, although I did have some preferences over others.

Favourite contributions include Shooting Pompeii by DBC Pierre (author of Booker and Whitbread prize-winning novel Vernon God Little) about his return to Central Mexico, a place he had visited many times as a young man. The theme of returning is also in Tom Carson's (Gilligan's Wake) segment, entitled The Tin Can, when he returned to Berlin having spent time there in his childhood as the son of a US State Department employee. As you can see many of these stories aren't your typical traveller's tales but journeys these writers have taken.

Travel tales of the more conventional style are here, as evidenced by the piece by Marina Lewycka (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian) who writes engagingly of travelling independently around Malawi with her daughter. Charles Finch (A Burial at Sea) writes about his time in Cape Town during the 2012 World Cup with some interesting observations of the international fans he met, and how some conformed (or otherwise) to their national stereotypes.

Steven Amsterdam (Things We Didn't See Coming) was affected by his anti-malarial drugs in Sulawesi and went a bit crazy, his amusing story is entitled Confessions of a Coconut-Soup Eater.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Truth is better than fiction, in this case doubly so! Thanks for a great read.
Published 10 days ago by Joyce Symington
2.0 out of 5 stars Great fiction writers maybe...
Having read The Best of Lonely Planet Travel Writing I was hopeful of some more great travel writing… but sadly disappointed. Read more
Published 23 days ago by stevieby
4.0 out of 5 stars a good
just as it says different tales from various travellers, a good read
Published 2 months ago by ipswich
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I enjoyed pretty much every story in this book, although some were sadder than others. For someone who would struggle to get to some of the countries visited this was a good way to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brewhexe
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
not holding my partners attention so havent finished it
Published 5 months ago by mrs a k martin-herbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quite interesting.
Published 8 months ago by libba
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
its ok
Published 8 months ago by Cherrie Dunstan
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull
Sounded a super idea, but did not find any of the stories held my interest for more than the first page. The great fiction writers should maybe stick to fiction?
Published 13 months ago by john poly
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Shorts
Lots of short stories and articles, all so different and fascinating, by travel writers which you cannot fail to enjoy.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writers write good stories
It takes a good writer to write a short story well and here there are some great short stories, make sure you pack this for your next journey.
Published 19 months ago by Stuart Nickerson
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