Questions of Travel

questionsQuestions of Travel
by Michele de Kretzer
2013 / 481 pages
rating:  5 /contemp fiction

Well whaddaya know –  one of the epigraphs in de Kretzer’s book is from E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End (which I just barely finished).   The epigraph:

“Under cosmopolitanism, if it comes, we shall receive no help from the earth.  Trees and meadows and mountains will only be a spectacle…”  (and there it ends)

So much for the good parts of this novel.   I only read it to be able to write a scathing review.   There is no story in this novel – at all – it’s a load of words strung together describing the lives of two different people,  usually on two different continents,  as they go through their childhoods,  adolescence,  young adulthood,  etc. and end up in other places as tourists or travelers or something.  Their lives are tedious to say the least – to me anyway.   I could never bring myself to care about either one of them – and that seemed like it should have been important in this book.   With Howards End I cared about all the characters in some way – in this book that part falls flat.

There is some kind of theme woven into it about distance and time and importance of observations and memory,  (etc.)  but I didn’t care enough to bother teasing it out.   There were just oo many words involved –  seemed to me sometimes that the author was writing to read herself –  like talking to hear yourself speak.  The adjectives are not cliched but that’s the best that can be said about them because they’re neither appropriate nor witty – they’re not really even interesting.  Sometimes it was very nicely written,  other times it was just about as interesting as lists of things about these two very different/similar people.   I only finished because I bought the darned thing and because  it was a group read.

2 Responses to Questions of Travel

  1. I loved this book, Bekah, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since I read it. I love what she explores about travel and what it means in the 21st century – the refugees and what travel means to them, the impact of having to leave your own culture versus the tourists who are lucky enough to roam the world. I though the two main characters were interesting though they were also vehicles for two different types of travel. It’s a big book but I loved her words!


  2. It may be a difference in tastes or a difference in mood with me. Also, I’d just finished rereading Howards End, a line from which de Kretzer used as an epigraph which got me to looking for Forster’s “rounded” characters. All those things might have set me up for disappointment. Who knows – I might have to reread it for a group and end up liking it. (heh)


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