Ecco, 9780061857676, 288pp.
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
The acclaimed, award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays that spans the globe, from the Caribbean to Scotland to the Himalayas.
Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. “Since childhood, I’ve longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery, and intrigue,” he writes in this compelling anthology. The longing for escape has taken him from the “bright green islands and turquoise seas” of the Caribbean islands to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond.
In Voyager, Russell Banks, a lifelong explorer, shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh, with his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset orange metallic Hummer down Alaska’s Seward Highway.
In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park this “perfect place to time-travel,” he traces his own timeline. “I keep going back, and with increasingly clarity I see more of the place and more of my past selves. And more of the past of the planet as well.” Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, “Voyager,” Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest of self-discovery. “One climbs a mountain not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky,” he explains.
Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, Voyager brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.
About the Author
Russell Banks, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is one of America’s most prestigious fiction writers, a past president of the International Parliament of Writers, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into twenty languages and has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Common Wealth Award for Literature. He lives in upstate New York and Miami, Florida.
Praise For Voyager: Travel Writings…
— Kirkus Reviews
“… [a] gusto-filled, retrospective anthology…Banks’ warm, probing intellect guides readers on thoughtful journeys…Readers will be hard put to find a more engaging travel companion.”
“Banks puts the literature back in travel writing in this extremely well-crafted book.”
— Library Journal
“…[a] fine collection…Banks’s narrative seductively juxtaposes rambles through lush volcanic mountains, white sand beaches and coral reefs with a barrage of memories of the hash he’s made of his private life.”
— New York Times Book Review
“[A] moving collection of travel pieces that rise to the level of literature”
— Christian Science Monitor