All the write stuff
WHATa busy and talented bunch of regular contributors we have at T&I. Everything seems right with the world when Pico Iyer has written our cover essay, but have you caught up with his latest book, The Man Within My Head: Graham Greene, My Father and Me ( Knopf), published last year? It was Greene, he writes, ‘‘who, almost in spite of himself, taught me . . . how to move around the world and even how to hazard trust’’. So, at the very least, we should feel grateful to the author of (particularly) The Quiet American for inspiring Iyer’s continuing and eventful quests.
London-based AZB (Afsaneh) Knight contributes hotel reviews to T&I but, when not testing mattresses and menus, she writes novels. Her second, The Sunshine Years (Random House), is just out and is set in Sydney, a city she knows well. It’s a perceptive if sometimes unsettling look at Gen Xers who have good jobs, full lives and all the usual First World petty problems but are entering mid-youth crisis territory and all those what-if dilemmas have taken hold. Are old friendships holding them back? Is it time to commit to a relationship?
Travel anthologies always make great dip-into reads, ideal as insurance against the pesky delays that can beset even the best-laid holiday plans. Dominic Dunne often writes Incidental Tourist columns for T&I and his recent Adventures of a Compulsive Traveller (Transit Lounge) is full of keen-eyed essays, as is contributor Brendan Shanahan’s new Mr Snack and the Lady Water (MUP). Shanahan is one for merry titles (his first travel book was In Turkey I Am Beautiful), thus inviting comparison with US adventurer Tim Cahill, whose works include A Wolverine Is Eating My Leg.
Stephen Scourfield’s latest novel, As the River Runs (UWAP), is set in the Kimberley but sounds unadventurous. It is not. T&I is awestruck by the prolific Scourfield, travel editor of The West Australian. His new book begins: ‘‘The snake moves like mercury poured on the ferociously red gravel. It grips the back of the lizard’s neck and syringes venom in calculated overdoses.’’ Irresistible.