Homer's Travels: Book: Ted Conover's "The Routes Of Man"

Monday, April 07, 2014

Book: Ted Conover's "The Routes Of Man"

After an unsatisfying read I decided to move to something a bit lighter so I picked up a Travelogue.  Ted Conover's "The Routes of Man: Travels in the Paved World" is a collection of six travel stories that are loosely connected by roads.  The cover implies a more road-centric book but it is in fact more of a travelogue of the author's adventures.

The author's adventures take place in Peru, India (the Himalayas), Kenya, the West Bank, China, and Nigeria.  Each story is an interesting look at each country from ground level.  Two (Peru and Kenya) are from the seat of a commercial truck that the author hitches a ride on. India is a seasonal road that forms as a river freezes over.  The West Bank looks at travel in a occupation.  China follows a ride with a driving club and how China is still a "wild west" when it comes to traffic law enforcement.  Lagos, Nigeria, shows the state of transportation in a metropolis growing out of control.

I liked Conover's writing.  It sounded like your typical Joe.  I'm not sure I agree with some of his opinions but those opinions are few and are only minor distractions.  Some travel writers sound like they are floating above the scenery looking down on what they see.  Conover feels like he's in the mix with the people he meets.  There is no condescension and little sense of superiority I have felt in some writers accounts of travel.

It's a light read.  More detail would have been welcome but, being an anthology means each story is often short.  So, if you are looking for some light travelogue reading, I would Recommend it.

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