This book is really a series of life stories. The wrap-around tale, Rory's quest for an old basket, is merely window-dressing. The real story are the bitterly sad tales - an old woman dreaming of foreign train routes, an ex-prostitute remembering her father's lost bicycle, a censor being wooed by a magazine editor.... It's a beautifully written book, very readable but also forlorn, almost depressing. This is not the sort of travel writing you read for inspiration before you go somewhere on holiday; rather, it's the sort of writing you read after you've come back, when you're trying to gain a deeper understanding of everything you've seen and experienced, and the people you've met.
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