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Questions of Travel [Paperback]

Michelle de Kretser
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

2 Jan 2014
Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events. An enthralling array of people, places and stories surround these superbly drawn characters - from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself. Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Questions of Travel is infused with wit, imagination, uncanny common sense and a deep understanding of what makes us tick.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (2 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174331664X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743316641
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is a novel unlike any other I have read... It is not really possible to describe, in a short space, the originality and depth of this long and beautifully crafted book. --A.S. Byatt, The Guardian

Ambitious and entertaining... Questions of Travel should ensure her place as a serious international novelist of the first rank. -The Economist

Sweeping and virtuosic... An outstanding novel. --Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

Novel by novel, the Sri Lankan-born Australian has emerged as one of the most fiercely intelligent voices in fiction today. This new work, her most ambitious yet, makes globalisation and its discontents the focus of a multi-faceted story that unites grandeur and intimacy. --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

An artful meditation on movement and migration. --The Times Literary Supplement

Man Booker-longlisted de Kretser's precisely written novel is concerned with tourists, refugees and the complexities of immigration... a nuanced and ambivalent look at the crassness of tourism. --The Sunday Times

This truly is a book for our times. --Irish Times

About the Author

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was 14. She was educated in Melbourne and Paris. She is the author of three other novels: The Rose Grower, The Hamilton Case (which won the Commonwealth Prize, SE Asia and Pacific region and the Encore Prize), and The Lost Dog, which was longlisted for both the Man Booker and the Orange Prize and received Australia's 'Book of the Year' Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, and the Gold Medal from the Australian Literary Society. She lives in Sydney.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Questioning questions of travel 22 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a huge volume of two stories from Sri Lanka and Australia entwining in a modern fable - nice to read something very up to date and encompassing the Great Escape of westerners wanting to experience the world through hostels and cheap hotels, and the 3rd world lot of those wishing to escape but often unable to, except through the internet. it is a novel of our times. Trouble was for me I didn't warm to the Australian heroine. I didn't care about her enough. The Sri Lankan hero was much more interesting - particularly the shocking violence done to his wife - that is very haunting. They are both loners seeking something - but in the end, it all became a jumble of affairs and love stories in a tour office.......and no happy ending. Not that I need a happy ending, but it was all kind of ...uncomfortable and unsatisfying. Maybe that was the point. The relationship between the individual and the collective world.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars moving and thought-provoking 21 Oct 2012
By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Questions of Travel is the fourth novel by Sri Lanka- born author, Michelle de Kretser. This novel follows, from childhood, events in the lives of two people: in Sydney, Laura Fraser, inspired by her Great-aunt Hester's travel stories, uses a bequest from Hester to travel the world, eventually making a career in travel guide publishing; in Sri Lanka, Ravi Mendis's life is turned upside down by devastating events, causing him to flee for his life. Ultimately, their paths cross, although this does not happen until almost three quarters of the way through the book. de Krester is skilled at conveying atmosphere and mood: she captures the feel of Sydney summer beautifully and her intimate knowledge of Sri Lanka is apparent. de Kretser slowly builds her story around a set of complex characters: I really wanted happiness for these two, but they seemed determined to thwart their own contentment at every turn. de Kretster's novel will have the reader thinking about travel in its many different forms: travel for pleasure, for work, as migration, and in flight from persecution or war. At one point, Ravi realises that "Immigration was the triumph of geography over history." de Kretser juxtaposes the superficiality of tourism with the life of locals in those destinations: the global rich in the context of the local poor. There is some beautiful prose: "Antennas were suspended above tiles - or were they the bones of fish? Clouds parted, and a great rib of light reached into a valley like an illustration from a Bible story." And "Ferries passed, lit up like cakes. The bridge went on holding the two halves of the city apart." The last paragraph is a completely unexpected twist. Powerful and thought-provoking.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a page-turner 26 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Skillful, yes. Excellent descriptive passages. Absorbing - not for me. No matter how well crafted or skillfully written a book, the reader should always be drawn into the plot and towards the conclusion. This was not my reaction. I even got three quarters way through before I decided I didn't think I cared enough to be bothered finishing it - something I would rarely contemplate.
The characters remained two-dimensional and I was not particularly interested in what happened to them. But A.S Byatt liked it!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going 22 Oct 2013
By Judy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to reading this book, but it is heavy going and difficult to get into, it touches on many interesting areas but doesn't develop them. I stopped reading with about 10% to go as it wasn't engaging enough and I wanted to get on to another book.
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I suppose its good writing to create such a strong association between a mutilated body and a thing I will see very often. But its cruel. Of course once the image was there I thought I would carry on reading. This is a long book where two fairly uncharismatic characters who don't really have anything to do with each other take turns to voice the authors thoughts on the internet, travel and the effect of violence. It features - and describes in mundane detail - a 'cast of characters' that seemed as important to me as friend's friend's colleague's friend's. My reading on was not rewarded, and the nasty association was strengthened by the association with a very famous painting. There are a few very beautiful sentences in this book but I really do not recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rich like velvet 15 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It follows the seemingly unrelated lives of a Sri Lankan man and an Australian woman for over a decade before they find themselves both working for a travel writing company in Sydney. The writing style is indulgent and rewarding, the narratives are honest and real and there is not a cliche in sight.
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