Cover image for The best American travel writing 2001
The best American travel writing 2001
Theroux, Paul.
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxii, 418 pages ; 21 cm.
As long as we were together, nothing bad could happen to us / Scott Anderson -- Fox and whale, priest and angel / Russell Banks -- Volcano alley is ticking / Tim Cahill -- Among the man-eaters / Philip Caputo -- Iran : Are you ready? / Andrew Cockburn -- The endless hunt / Gretel Ehrlich -- Desperate passage / Michael Finkel -- Desert hideaway / Ian Frazier -- View from the bridge / Peter Hessler -- Why we travel / Pico Iyer -- Into the heart of the middle kingdom / Kathleen Lee -- Travels with Chekhov / Janet Malcolm -- Daughter of the wind / Lawrence Millman -- This we came to know afterward / Susan Minot -- The place to disappear / Susan Orlean -- The post-Communist wolf / David Quammen -- A dream of glorious return / Salman Rushdie -- Paradise lost / Edward W. Said -- Something wild in the blood / Bob Shacochis -- Croatian rock / Thomas Swick -- Miraculous fishing / Patrick Symmes -- Back in the USSR? / Jeffrey Tayler -- The very, very, very big chill / Marcel Theroux -- Is just like Amerika? / Brad Wetzler -- Dining out in Iceland / Jason Wilson -- Beyond Siberia / Simon Winchester.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.T73 B48 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads hundreds of pieces from dozens of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to twenty or so of the very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind.

This second annual BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING volume is a far-flung collection chosen by travel writer extraordinaire Paul Theroux, a volume that again "favors the unexpected, the unusual and, in some instances, the potentially deadly" with writing that "is packed with punch and purpose" (San Antonio Express). From Lawrence Millman's journey to the time-stilled Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, "where Ulysses is spoken of like a contemporary," to Susan Orlean's experience on Bangkok's Khao San Road, a place that "makes you feel as though it could eat you alive," here is the most remarkable and most challenging travel writing of 2001. Read on for Russell Banks, Pico Iyer, Janet Malcolm, Susan Minot, David Quammen, Salman Rushdie, Edward W. Said, and many more.

Author Notes

JASON WILSON, series editor, is the author of Boozehound: On the Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits and the digital wine series Planet of the Grapes. He has written for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Daily News, and many other publications. He is the founding editor of The Smart Set and Table Matters. PAUL THEROUX is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari . He lives in Hawaii and Cape Cod."

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This second volume in the series presents more exemplars of armchair reading (in this case, armchair listening), taking people away from daily routine to exotic, often remote settings. Theroux introduces the 11 selections, which are written by some of the most renowned travel writers, including Russell Banks, Susan Orlean and Pico Iyer. The locales span the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic; the essays' common thread is their authors' enthusiasm for their chosen destinations. Though overall this a charming package, Theroux's introduction is a bit long and doesn't provide a strong thematic connection to the selections that follow, and listeners will be disappointed when they learn Salman Rushdie does not to read his own piece. However, the selections are all well narrated. Several "The Endless Hunt" by Gretel Ehrlich, "Daughter of the Wind" by Lawrence Millman and "Into the Heart of the Middle Kingdom" by Kathleen Lee are superb. These narrations are so strong and evocative that listeners will feel almost as if they have accompanied the authors on their travels. Though not as stunning as last year's collection, this is nonetheless ideal for car listeners who wish they were en route to the Andes instead of Detroit. Simultaneous release with the Houghton Mifflin hardcover. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Foreword I have been sent many odd promotional items by wrongheaded public relations people desperate for me to write about their clients. Nothing, however, has been more misguided than the Kwikpoint International Translator that I received a few years ago. The Kwikpoint International Translator is a laminated, legal- sized card, folded three times, with full-color illustrations inside and out. On the front cover, the Kwikpoint International Translator proclaims: "Say It with Pictures!"; "Point to Pictures and Make Yourself Understood Anywhere in the World!" Above those proclamations is a cartoon drawing of a tourist, a man with a camera strapped around his neck, seated at a restaurant table. His ignored menu sits beside him on the table and in his hands is a trusty Kwikpoint International Translator. The man points at a simple illustration of a cup of coffee, while above him, inside his cartoon dialogue bubble, the same image of a cup of coffee is rendered. Meanwhile, the smiling waitress stands before him and dutifully writes down his order. In her cartoon thought bubble is the exact same image of a cup of coffee. The cartoons message is clear: An international crisis has just been averted. Without ever having to learn that pesky foreign word for coffee, our tourist friend has successfully conveyed his beverage choice to the smiling waitress, who has understood him - even though shes made it very difficult for our friend by not speaking his language. But coffee isnt the only image that the Kwikpoint International Translator provides. Open the thing up and there are hundreds of tiny pictures for the tourist to point at, and presumably resolve any situation that might arise. There are, of course, images for police, fire, hospital, pharmacy, currency exchange, hotel, train station, toothpaste, and the red-circle-with-a-slash international sign for "No." But there are also more advanced images for specific needs - massage, diving equipment, casino games, squat toilet, male and female contraceptives, jumper cables, pipe-smoking supplies, poached egg, frog legs, life preserver. By following the guide at the bottom of the page, you can create compound ideas. Pointing at a glass of ice cubes plus a cup of coffee would equal iced coffee, for instance. Pointing to the red-circle-with-a-slash plus a jar of mustard equals "No Mustard." Almost as an afterthought, in tiny letters, at the very bottom of the back page, the following advice is printed: "Learn a few key words in the local language: Yes, No, Hello, Goodbye, Thank You, Please, Love, Peace." I believe that we have reached a very strange place in the evolution of travel when a product like the Kwikpoint International Translator appears. And I cant help but feel sorry for the person who feels compelled to tuck one of these into his fanny pack, next to his electronic currency converter, just in case he finds himself separated from the tour bus and suddenly in a place where no Engli Excerpted from The Best American Travel Writing 2001 All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Paul TherouxScott AndersonTim CahillJournal Philip CaputoAndrew CockburnMichael FinkelIan FrazierPeter HesslerPico IyerKathleen LeeJanet MalcolmLawrence MillmanSusan MinotSusan OrleanDavid QuammenSalman RushdieEdward W. SaidLeisure Bob ShacochisJournal Thomas SwickPatrick SymmesMagazine Jeffrey TaylerMagazine Marcel TherouxBrad WetzlerJason WilsonSimon Winchester
Contents Forewordp. xi
Introductionp. xvii
As Long As We Were Together, Nothing Bad Could Happen to Us from Men's Journal Russell Banksp. 1
Fox and Whale, Priest and Angel from Esquirep. 20
Volcano Alley Is Ticking from Men'sp. 29
Among the Man-Eaters from National Geographic Adventurep. 47
Iran: Are You Ready? from Condé Nast Traveler Gretel Ehrlichp. 75
The Endless Hunt from National Geographic Adventurep. 88
Desperate Passage from The New York Times Magazinep. 105
Desert Hideaway from The Atlantic Monthlyp. 125
View from the Bridge from The New Yorkerp. 132
Why We Travel from Salon Travelp. 142
Into the Heart of the Middle Kingdom from Condé Nast Travelerp. 152
Travels with Chekhov from The New Yorkerp. 164
Daughter of the Wind from Islandsp. 189
This We Came to Know Afterward from McSweeney'sp. 199
The Place to Disappear from The New Yorkerp. 228
The Post-Communist Wolf from Outsidep. 238
A Dream of Glorious return from The New Yorkerp. 254
Paradise Lost from Travelp. 276
Something Wild in the Blood from Men'sp. 286
Croatian Rock from South Florida Sun-Sentinelp. 301
Miraculous Fishing from Harper'sp. 318
Back in the USSR? from Harper'sp. 341
The Very, Very, Very Big Chill from Travel & Leisurep. 361
Is Just Like Amerika! from Outsidep. 366
Dining Out in Iceland from The North American Reviewp. 380
Beyond Siberia from Condép. 401
Nast Traveler Contributors' Notesp. 409
Notable Travel Writing of 2000p. 415