Tag: Fictional Travelers

Gone Reading

Tom Swick on the unsung union of the traveler and the book

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The Lower River

An excerpt from the new novel by Paul Theroux

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The Critics: ‘The Lower River’ by Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux’s new novel, The Lower River, is about an American named Ellis Hock who returns to the African nation of Malawi nearly four decades after working there in the Peace Corps. The book got mixed reviews over the weekend. The New York Times critic liked it:

“The Lower River” is riveting in its storytelling and provocative in its depiction of this African backwater, infusing both with undertones of slavery and cannibalism, savagery and disease. Theroux exposes the paternalism of Hock’s Peace Corps nostalgia, his “sense of responsibility, almost the conceit of ownership.”

The Los Angeles Times’ critic was less impressed, finding the story “predictable, peopled with stock bit players, and disappointingly familiar.”

Theroux spoke about the novel on NPR over the weekend. The six-minute segment is worth a listen:


A World Hum Story is Novelized

David Raterman drew from his 2002 World Hum story Down by the Buskaschee Field about Tajikistan while writing “The River Panj,” described as “the first thriller to open in Afghanistan on 9/11.”

From a press release:

On Sept. 11, 2001, ex-Notre Dame football star Derek Braun is doing relief work in Afghanistan when his fiancée and elderly colleague are kidnapped along the border with Tajikistan. With no one to help, he goes in search. On this dangerous journey, he faces Islamic terrorists, heroin smugglers, corrupt Russian soldiers, Iranian spies and helpless CIA agents, witnessing an assortment of terrible acts that culminate in his own kidnapping.

The novel, which promises to be the first in a series, is available in paperback for $10.99 here and as an e-book for $2.99 on Amazon and iTunes.

By the way, you have to love a writer who devotes a section of his website to publishing rejections. They’re enough to give any aspiring novelist serious pause.

Flavorwire Celebrates Fictional Traveling Sidekicks

A couple years back we put together a list of our favorite fictional travelers. Don Quixote and Jack Kerouac’s Sal Paradise both made the list—and now, we’re thrilled to see, both of their traveling comrades, Sancho Panza and Dean Moriarty, have cracked Flavorwire’s list of the greatest sidekicks in literature. Long live the literary travel buddy. (Via The Book Bench)

Feliz Cumpleaños, Dora the Explorer

Our favorite cartoon vagabond, Dora Marquez, is turning 10 this month. A fine Los Angeles Times story pays tribute to Dora and notes her global reach:

The animated series is now broadcast in more than 100 countries—it’s the No. 1-rated preschool show in many of them, including France—and dubbed in 30 languages, such as Russian, Mandarin and German, with Dora mostly teaching English (in some cases Spanish).

We love Dora the Explorer—so much so that we once named her one of our top 10 greatest fictional travelers. Here’s what we wrote about Dora then, which is equally true today:

Kids need travel role models as much as adults, and the animated Latina vagabond Dora the Explorer is an exemplary role model. With her trademark purple backpack, wash-and-wear bob (perfect for the tropics) and monkey sidekick, Boots (Sancho Panza to her Don Quixote), Dora wanders a lush countryside, navigating around strawberry mountains and chocolate lakes, embarking on all manner of quests. Along the way, she consults her trusty map, breaks out handy Spanish phrases, asks viewers for help and sings out, “Come on, vámonos!” The message to kids is clear: The world is yours for the exploring, and with a little effort and help from your friends, you can surmount any obstacles that get in your way.

TripAdvisor Goes to the Movies

Over at College Humor, some classic traveling movie characters review their destinations, TripAdvisor-style. My favorite comes from a member calling himself “Fr0d0”—here’s a sample: “Took a trip up to Mordor on official business, DO NOT GO THERE!!! The journey was absolute mordor! (lol)”

10 Greatest Fictional Travelers

From La Mancha to Lilliput, Jim Benning and Michael Yessis track down the world's finest made-up globetrotters

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