Voyager: Travel Writings

Ecco: HarperCollins. May 2016. 268p. ISBN 9780061857676. $25.99. TRAV
OrangeReviewStarNovelist Banks (The Sweet Hereafter; Affliction), on the cusp of his fourth marriage, spends the first half of this collection of travel writing telling readers what went wrong with the first three. He does this by interspersing these erstwhile faulty relationships with descriptions of the Lesser Antilles. This is not a logical pairing, but oddly enough, it works. Banks owns up to his past and somehow convinces the woman who is to become No. 4 into marrying him—successfully this time. Between the ups and downs of his past one learns that the Virgin Islands are overcommercialized, Saba is wonderful, and the French side of St-Martin/Sint Maarten is better than the Dutch. The second half of the book includes recollections of a hodgepodge of places: Cuba, North Carolina, Scotland, Alaska, the Everglades, and the Andes and Himalaya mountains.
VERDICT Banks puts the literature back in travel writing in this extremely well-crafted book.
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