04 January 2017
Far and Away: how travel can change the world
The great days of travel writing are surely far behind us now. What’s left to explore, beyond North Korea? TV, the internet and cheap air travel have shrunk the world. The heavy tread of the backpackers is wearing down Machu Pichu, human “traffic jams” clog Mount Everest while 200,000 visitors a year have turned the Galapagos Islands into an open-air zoo. One wonders what someone like Bruce Chatwin would do with himself now – where would he go?
Andrew Solomon, a professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of The Noonday Demon, a learned, enthralling insider’s study of depression, does not present himself as an explorer in the heroic tradition. The photograph on the back cover shows a manicured-looking man in a black polo neck, one arm draped over the back of an armchair, the index finger on the other pointing lightly towards his temple, in what looks like a smart New York apartment or hotel.
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