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Travels In A Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile Paperback – 5 Jan 1995

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Paperback, 5 Jan 1995
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New edition edition (5 Jan. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349105847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349105840
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,636,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

lively and sympathetic...Sara Wheeler is very well worth reading. (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

a perceptive and entertaining account. (NEW STATESMAN AND SOCIETY)

a thorougly enjoyable book with plenty of humour. (TODAY)

Chance meetings and planned visits are described with enough imagery and dialogue to make you pack your rucksack before finishing the book. (NORTHERN ECHO)

Book Description

The most authorative book available on Chile, now updated with a new 5,000-word introduction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is "travel writing" in the sense that we know it these days. Author thinks of a trip. If successfully published previously, gets an advance. Makes arrangements, connections and contacts, sharpens pencils, buys dictaphone tapes and tickets and goes. The result is what was intended from the start - a book. OK, no harm in that. This is what Sara Wheeler does for a living, just like Bryson, Theroux, Palin et al. Other authors go nowhere, make it all up - that's fiction. Somewhere in between is Bruce Chatwin, who went to places and then made a lot of it up. So, for those of us who have bought these books and in fact pay for these trips, was this one worth it?

I'd say it was. Sara Wheeler writes well. She's humorous but not jokey. She's thoughtful but not pedantic. She gives us social and historical background without becoming boring, didactic or turgid. It's very entertaining, interesting and a pleasure to read.

It's not a Guide Book. Buy one with "Guide" in the title for that. It's not even a book to guide you to Chile. It's only just a book about Chile at all. Like many books of this type, it is about the author and her reactions and reflections on being who she is wherever it is she happens to be. Of course, along the way we are told a good deal about Chile. I particularly liked the even-handed way she dealt with the Allende-Pinochet period. This is still central to Chilean life, so it was important to get it right and I believe she did. I also like her "coming out" in her admission that she does not like the poems of Chile's cultural patron saint, Pablo Neruda. She even decides she doesn't like him as a man. But she does nevertheless understand and acknowledge his importance and status in Chilean life.

I'd like to have been able to subtract another half-star.
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Format: Paperback
I'm going to Chile for a month in January and wanted to get a perspective beyond the usual travel guides. Sara Wheeler's book does just that.

Despite being an account of her travels from the early 90s, you still get a strong sense of the intricacies of the different populations and the Chilean climate through the author's insightful and witty writing. She meets a multitude of people, both Chileans and foreigners, all of whom are depicted vividly and her opinion of them presented candidly. You're drawn into her own personal adventure and maybe she could reveal more, maybe that's just me being nosey. Who knows?

It's a great piece of thoughtful and well observed travel writing. After reading this book, I cannot wait to go to Chile.
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Format: Paperback
Just the shape of the country is appealing, in part, due to its uniqueness. It's 2,600 miles long, and, at most, 110 miles wide. A 25:1 ratio of length to width; no other country comes remotely close. It has the driest desert in the world, where, in parts, it hasn't rained in years. And the very clearest skies, a "mecca" for astronomers, and "New Agers." It is the only country that claims part of Antarctica as an integral part of the country, and have even ensured the birth of a few "anchor babies" to humanize their claim. Like many countries, it has had a "troubled history," which includes other claims to uniqueness. For example, it has had the only freely elected Marxist President, Salvador Allende. And it was "assaulted" by one of the most rigidly orthodox ideologies, one that would rival the Taliban: the "free-market" ideology espoused by the "Chicago boys" economists whose equations would injure so many in the immense experiment that was conducted in Chile as part of the "shock doctrine."

Sara Wheeler is a remarkable, erudite, compassionate and gutsy woman. She had finished her first book Evia: Travels on an Undiscovered Greek Island (Tauris Parke Paperback) and saw another "main chance." Pinochet, the General that was part of the coup that overthrew Allende in 1973, was finally moved out of office. So, at the age of 30, in 1990, she decided to see and experience Chile, top to bottom, geographically, and in terms of social classes as well. Within the overall plan, and some sub-plans, she took advantage of especially appealing situations when they developed, and she lingered.
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Format: Paperback
I could probably have lived a full and happy life without ever visiting Chile, but after reading this book I'm determined to go. Sara Wheeler's account of a North-South journey through the "thin country" is entertaining, well written, funny and insightful. Towards the end of her trip she wangles her way to Antarctica with the Chillean navy and this led to another excellent travel book. Highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
Sara Wheelers travels in a thin country is a reasonable travel book through Chile, but it is certainly not an authoritive guide. Having traveled most of the route she chooses, from North to South, prior to reading the book, it was easy to relate to many of her encounters and expeditions. And as such the book serves as a nice reminder, The problem with the book, is that is has been written soley with the ambition of creating a travel book, and this is the reason she set of to Chile in the first place. It lacks a real focus, and it is yet another journalist travels through country to write travel book epic.
The other thing which is striking is the better than thou attitide she displays to other travellers in Chile, she decides not to experience many of the highlights of the gringo trail through Chile such as torees del paine, as she isnt fond of nanging around other gringo backpackers, the excuse she gives is that she has somehow managed to get herself onto a cargo ship north, which is in fact a main route north for backpackers, of course once the captain of the ship finds out she is a journalist he offers to remove her from the confines of the other squalid backpackers, and so on.
Chile is an amzing country and one of the best places to travel on earth, this book certainly is insightful, but theres much more.
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