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Questions of Travel by [de Kretser, Michelle]
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Questions of Travel Kindle Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Length: 481 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories - from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination - a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.

Praise for The Lost Dog:

'This is the best novel I have read in a long time.' - AS Byatt

'a beautiful piece of writing - place your bets now for the Booker.' - Kate Saunders, The Times

Praise for The Hamilton Case:

'one of the most remarkable books I've read in a long while - subtle and mysterious, both comic and eerie, and brilliantly evocative of time and place. I've never been to Sri Lanka but I feel it's become part of my interior landscape, and I so much admire Michelle de Kretser's formidable technique - her characters feel alive, and she can create a sweeping narrative which encompasses years, and yet still retain the sharp, almost hallucinatory detail. It's brilliant. (Booker judges, where were you?)' - Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1113 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316219223
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (24 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DE2PO7U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,980 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition
There are two people's stories in this novel: two displaced people who've travelled in order to find, or to escape. Laura Fraser, freshly moneyed thanks to a legacy, leaves Australia behind in order to see the world. Laura ends up in London where she becomes a house-sitter and then works as a travel writer. Laura is an outsider with few attachments. Ravi Mendes leaves his Sri Lankan homeland in fear of his life, and ends up applying for asylum in Australia.

`Now the world is full of people who don't belong where they end up and long for places where they did.'

Laura sees Europe through Australian eyes, while Ravi sees Australia through the eyes of an asylum seeker. Travel can be both experience and refuge, either way it is an industry. Half way through the novel, Laura starts working for Ramsay Publications, a publisher of travel guidebooks. Ravi, before he leaves Sri Lanka, was interested in geography and wanted to be a tourist. Neither Laura nor Ravi is fated to belong in the worlds they inhabit. Both remain as outsiders.

`Ferries passed, lit up like cakes. The bridge went on holding the two halves of the city apart.'

The stories of Laura and Ravi alternate throughout the novel, which covers 40 years of their restless lives. Ravi, at least, has a sense of what is missing in his life. Laura seems less focussed. Travel may have broadened Laura's experience, but it seems to have diminished her sense of self. Do Laura and Ravi meet? And what impact would any meeting have on their lives?

I found Ravi's story more engaging than Laura's: I found it easier to empathise with his situation and to understand his choices. I could also understand how - for Ravi- the Internet became another mode of travel, a way of shrinking a vast world.
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Found it hard to get into, then eventually started to enjoy it during the middle, then it got boring again. Sadly towards the end, I was skim reading just so I could finish it.
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I enjoyed it overall. I didn't like the ending. I cannot think of a better ending though. I will reread it because I feel like i missed a few things. There were words and phrases in the book that I did not understand. I also think there was a little too much that the author expected the reader to pick up on.
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Being able to turn an interesting phrase and paint detailed word pictures of places around the world does nothing to make the characters come alive, for me. Your view may be different.
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Since it had won awards, I came to this novel with high expectations. They were not met. The story of a dull young woman (she is more a tourist than a traveller in her own life), the novel suffers from the imitative fallacy. Our heroine is no Dorothea Brooke ('Middlemarch'): quite the reverse, and the evocation of dullness is itself dull. The style consists of simple declarative sentences: how I longed for a sentence of more than two lines, or with some nuance. And the structure is dull again. De Kretser game is to elaborate endlessly: we meet the characters doing uninteresting things; when their uninteresting friends are mentioned, we are told in turn of their doings and then the doings of their friends, and so on interminably. But endless elaboration is hardly a new game. The shaggy dog's tale has been done far more interestingly in 'Tristram Shandy'; the endless elaboration structure has been done with far more intelligence in 'Don Quixote' and in 'Midnight's Children' and in a thousand other places.

I read 150 pages, and then I skimmed the rest. Life is too short for novels like this.
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Sorry, I was unable to finish this book. The prose is extremely dense - often containing gems of wisdom and novel perceptions - but giving very little sense of story. I could not engage with the characters and had no desire to follow their journeys. I felt we were just being fed beautifully worded vignettes that lacked any sense of purpose or structure. On the whole, the book left me bored and frustrated.
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Michelle de Kretser uses language so beautifully. However I found the entries about all the many characters a bit confusing.
There is no doubt though that there are many tips for travelling, or advice not to travel in some circumstances.
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I found the story to be a little slow moving. Of the two split stories, one was interesting, the other was not. The author higlights some pertinent ideas about travel, but I didn't really like this book.
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