Last week’s review of the South Africa Traveler’s Literary Companion led me both into some of the best short literature I’ve been able to read in a while, and into one of my favorite neverending debates: whether novelists or travel writers are better writers of “place.”
Reading the collection, as I mentioned in the review, made me rethink the balance of travel writing versus literature in whetting one’s appetite for a place.
Whereabouts Press wrote an excellent response in their blog, on the subject of armchair travel literature versus native literature and what best brings a place to life. And — for all you eager readers and travelers — they offered a free copy of this particular literature companion to one of Perceptive Travel’s readers.
While it would be fun to push our readers into a hot debate about the merits of fiction and travel writing, it seems a little extreme. So in order to win, I’d like you to tell us about a piece of fiction that ignited your imagination and inspired you to visit a country, state, province, city, building, park, etc., where you’d never been before.
Think of the hordes who have tramped the streets of Dublin looking for James Joyce’s Ulysses, or the multitudes who’ve fallen in love with Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and then traveled to Russia. I’ve read two long essays recently by people who traveled all over America’s Midwest in the tracks of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. If there’s a work of fiction or author that tickled that wanderlust itch on your feet, I’d like to hear about it.
Please write your response in the comments below (try to keep it below 100 words or so. If you have something longer, try submitting it to Literary Traveler!).
We’ll choose one entrant to receive a copy of the excellent compendium of stories in South Africa Traveler’s Literary Companion. I will announce the winner in my next Friday post, November 20th.