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2022.09.16 六本必备的女性旅游书籍

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Travel writing by women
What to read to follow the footsteps of great women travel writers
Six essential travel books
B1R7KD Irish Personalities, Dervla Murphy, Writer
Sep 16th 2022

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The travel writer cuts a familiar figure: a bookish wanderer, footloose with notepad and pen, scrambles up mountains and across cities “discovering.” He is bright, dashing and highly educated. He is white, middle-class and, often, British. Taming unruly lands with his civilised words, he shapes Western visions of far-flung places and those who live in them. Admirers call his writing evocative; critics call it neocolonial. Over the past two centuries, this figure often cast such a large shadow across travel writing that it seemed there was no room for others. But ideas of travel writing are changing. Readers want more diverse voices. And women are, and always have been, great explorers. Here are six of the best books about travel by female writers.

Travels in West Africa. By Mary Kingsley. Penguin Classics; 736 pages; £14.99 and $25


Mary Kingsley was one of those formidable Victorian ladies who scythed through jungles with parasols and waded into swamps wearing long skirts, high collars and a necklace of leeches. For “Travels in West Africa”, published in 1897, Kingsley made her way across western and equatorial Africa, becoming the first European to enter parts of Gabon and the first woman to climb Mount Cameroon. Her writing is direct, practical and remarkably sanguine; after falling 15 feet onto nine 12-inch spikes in a game pit, she remarks: “It is at these times you realise the blessing of a good thick skirt.” Not only a great adventurer, she was also an eloquent admirer of West Africa who challenged many contemporary prejudices. For her, it was “a wall of dancing white, rainbow-gemmed surf playing on a shore of yellow sand”, “a great mangrove-watered bronze river” or “a vast aisle in some forest cathedral” saying always “Come back, come back, this is your home.”

Full Tilt. By Dervla Murphy. Overlook Press; 256 pages; $22.95. Eland; £14.99

When she was ten, Dervla Murphy was given a bicycle and an atlas; within days, she had planned her first trip to India. That was in December 1941; in January 1963, she began to cycle from Dunkirk to Delhi with a notepad in one pocket and a .25 pistol in the other. “Full Tilt”, published in 1965, is the collection of letters she sent home as a makeshift diary. Murphy writes as she must have cycled: with energy, determination and directness, one eye on the road ahead and another on the countries beyond. Her writing is peppered with twinkling good-humour; the Afghan embassy, for example, has “the most kindly ways of trying to thwart one”. Murphy was cheerful and dauntless: she said she never needed courage as she was never afraid. This book, one of 26 she wrote, is a reminder of how to live life at full tilt. Read our obituary of Murphy, published in June 2022.


Travels with Myself and Another. By Martha Gellhorn. Penguin; 320 pages; $17. Eland; £14.99

“Travels with Myself and Another” is vivacious, self-deprecating, intolerant, witty and scandalous—like listening to a glamorous aunt who holds her diary in one hand and a large whisky in the other. Whether traversing China via sampan with her husband Ernest Hemingway (the “U.C., or Unwilling Companion”), trailing elephants in East Africa or searching for submarines in the Caribbean, Martha Gellhorn writes in staccato prose so sharp you could spear a man with it. As she said, instead of “a proper travel book”, “Travels with Myself and Another”, from 1978, is “an account of my best horror journeys.” People everywhere are nasty, brutish and smelly. But Gellhorn, best-known as a war reporter, is saved from snarkiness by her humour, her daring and her deep feeling for the natural world. She writes with a poet’s love of the land and a war reporter’s zest for life. (We reviewed a biography of Gellhorn, nearly two decades ago.)

All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes. By Maya Angelou. Knopf Doubleday; 224 pages; $15.95. Virago; £9.99

Most travel books are about leaving home; “All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes”, from 1986, is about searching for one. The fifth instalment in Maya Angelou’s seven-part autobiographical series, it recounts the years the African-American writer spent in Ghana in the early 1960s and her trips to Berlin and Venice as part of a theatrical company. Ghana through Angelou’s eyes is majestic, sweeping, “plump with promise”; she spends fascinated nights in the company of activists and writers, “lambasting America and extolling Africa,” even as she becomes aware that she has been “swept into an adoration for Ghana as a young girl falls in love, heedless and with slight chance of finding the emotion requited.” Powerful in its eloquent evocation of cultural fault lines and written with poetic precision, “All God’s Children Need Travelling Shoes” describes a journey into Africa that is a journey into oneself. Read our obituary of Angelou, published in June 2014.

Looking for Transwonderland. By Noo Saro-Wiwa. Catapult; 272 pages; $15.95. Granta; £10.99

After moving to Britain as a child, Noo Saro-Wiwa viewed Nigeria—her birth country and a place she considered a “tropical gulag”—with embarrassment and dread. A four-and-a-half-month trip—made in 2007-8, more than a decade after the execution of her activist father, Ken Saro-Wiwa—changed her perspective. “Looking for Transwonderland”, published in 2012, is a vivid, humane, extremely funny account of Nigeria as seen through the eyes of someone who is neither of an insider nor fully an outsider: a native daughter returned after an absence of many years. Under Ms Saro-Wiwa’s pen, its “buttock-clenching excitement” springs to life. But she is also unflinching in her portrayal of corruption in a country that has “lurched from one kleptocracy to the next.” Ms Saro-Wiwa observes that the social fabric of an extended family does not suit a free-market economy: having many desperate dependents heaps inexhaustible pressure on successful members, pushing them towards bribery and nepotism. “Looking for Transwonderland” is a rollicking read, elevated into a state-of-the-nation narrative by its incisive analysis of the problems and power of modern Nigeria. Read our review, from January 2012.


Small Bodies of Water. By Nina Mingya Powles. Canongate; 272 pages; $18 and £9.99

Nina Mingya Powles is white and Malaysian Chinese; she had moved between Wellington, New York and Shanghai before the age of 15. “By then,” she writes, “home was a slippery word.” In this collection of shimmering essays, she reflects on the waters that connect and divide us. Like her first book “Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai”, “Small Bodies of Water”, from 2021, is a meditation on movement, migration and belonging that twists and turns like a river: impossible to contain and always surging swiftly onwards, asking “Where is the place your body is anchored? Which body of water is yours?”



女性的旅行写作
追随伟大的女性旅行作家的脚步,应该读些什么?
六本必备的旅游书籍
B1R7KD 爱尔兰名人,德芙拉-墨菲,作家
2022年9月16日



旅行作家是一个熟悉的形象:一个爱读书的流浪者,拿着记事本和笔,爬山涉水,穿越城市,"发现"。他聪明、潇洒、受过高等教育。他是白人,中产阶级,而且往往是英国人。他用文明的文字驯服了不羁的土地,塑造了西方人对遥远地方和生活在那里的人的想象。崇拜者称他的写作具有唤起性;批评者称其为新殖民主义。在过去的两个世纪里,这个人物经常在旅游写作中投下如此大的阴影,以至于似乎没有空间给其他人。但旅游写作的观念正在发生变化。读者希望有更多不同的声音。而女性是,而且一直是,伟大的探险家。这里有六本女性作家写的最好的旅行书。

西非游记》。玛丽-金斯利著。企鹅经典;736页;14.99英镑和25美元


玛丽-金斯利是维多利亚时代那些威风凛凛的女士之一,她们打着阳伞在丛林中穿梭,穿着长裙、戴着高领和水蛭项链涉足沼泽。在1897年出版的《西非游记》中,金斯利走遍了非洲西部和赤道地区,成为第一个进入加蓬部分地区的欧洲人和第一个登上喀麦隆山的女性。她的文章直接、实用,而且非常乐观;在一个猎物坑中摔到15英尺高的9个12英寸的钉子上后,她说:"在这种时候,你会意识到一条好的厚裙子的好处。" 她不仅是一位伟大的冒险家,也是一位雄辩的西非崇拜者,她挑战了许多当代的偏见。对她来说,它是 "一堵跳舞的白色墙,在黄沙海岸上玩耍的彩虹宝石般的海浪","一条巨大的红树林浇灌的青铜河 "或 "某个森林大教堂的巨大过道",总是说 "回来吧,回来吧,这是你的家。"

全力以赴。作者:德芙拉-墨菲。Overlook出版社;256页;22.95美元。埃兰;14.99英镑

德芙拉-墨菲10岁时得到了一辆自行车和一本地图集;几天之内,她就计划了她的第一次印度之旅。那是在1941年12月;1963年1月,她开始骑自行车从敦刻尔克到德里,一个口袋里装着记事本,另一个口袋里装着点25手枪。"1965年出版的《全力以赴》是她寄回家的信件集,作为临时的日记。墨菲的写作方式就像她骑自行车一样:精力充沛、坚定而直接,一只眼睛看着前面的路,另一只眼睛看着后面的国家。她的文章中夹杂着闪烁的幽默感;例如,阿富汗大使馆有 "最友好的方式来试图挫败一个人"。墨菲性格开朗,无所畏惧:她说她从来不需要勇气,因为她从不害怕。这本书是她写的26本书中的一本,提醒人们如何全力以赴地生活。阅读我们在2022年6月发表的墨菲的讣告。


与我自己和另一个人的旅行》。玛莎-盖尔霍恩著。企鹅;320页;17美元。 埃兰;14.99英镑

"与我和另一个人的旅行》是活泼的、自嘲的、不宽容的、诙谐的和丑闻的,就像在听一个一手拿日记、一手拿大杯威士忌的迷人阿姨说话。无论是与丈夫欧内斯特-海明威("U.C.,即不情愿的同伴")通过舢板穿越中国,还是在东非追踪大象,或是在加勒比海寻找潜艇,玛莎-盖尔霍恩都用错落有致的散文写作,尖锐到你可以用它来刺杀一个人。正如她所说,1978年出版的《我和另一个人的旅行》不是 "一本适当的旅行书",而是 "我最好的恐怖之旅的记录"。各地的人都很下流、野蛮、臭气熏天。但作为战争记者而闻名的盖尔霍恩,却因其幽默、大胆和对自然界的深厚感情而免于尖刻。她以诗人对土地的热爱和战争记者对生活的热情来写作。(我们在近二十年前评论过盖尔霍恩的传记)。

所有上帝的孩子都需要旅行鞋。作者:Maya Angelou。Knopf Doubleday;224页;15.95美元。Virago;9.99英镑

大多数旅行书都是关于离家的;1986年的《上帝的孩子都需要旅行鞋》是关于寻找家的。这本书是玛雅-安吉洛七部自传系列的第五部,讲述了这位非裔美国作家1960年代初在加纳度过的岁月,以及她作为一个剧团的成员前往柏林和威尼斯的经历。安吉卢眼中的加纳是雄伟的、广阔的、"充满希望的";她在活动家和作家的陪伴下度过了迷人的夜晚,"抨击美国,赞美非洲",甚至当她意识到她已经 "被卷进了对加纳的崇拜中,就像一个年轻女孩坠入爱河,无动于衷,几乎不可能找到情感的回报。" 所有上帝的孩子都需要旅行鞋》有力地唤起了文化断层,写得很有诗意,描述了一次进入非洲的旅行,也是一次进入自己的旅行。阅读我们在2014年6月发表的安吉洛的讣告。

寻找横空出世的大陆。作者:努-萨罗-维瓦。Catapult;272页;15.95美元。Granta;10.99英镑

Noo Saro-Wiwa小时候搬到英国后,对尼日利亚--她的出生国和一个她认为是 "热带古拉格 "的地方--感到尴尬和恐惧。2007年8月,在她的活动家父亲肯-萨罗-维瓦被处决十多年后,一次为期四个半月的旅行改变了她的看法。"2012年出版的《寻找异域》是一部生动、人道和极其有趣的记录,通过一个既不是内部人也不完全是外部人的人的眼睛看到了尼日利亚:一个离开多年后回来的本地女儿。在萨罗-维瓦女士的笔下,尼日利亚的 "紧张刺激 "变得生动起来。但她也毫不留情地描绘了这个 "从一个贪污腐败的国家到另一个贪污腐败的国家 "的腐败。萨罗-维瓦女士观察到,大家庭的社会结构并不适合自由市场经济:有许多绝望的受抚养人,给成功的成员带来了无尽的压力,将他们推向贿赂和裙带关系。"寻找横空出世的地方》是一部令人振奋的读物,它对现代尼日利亚的问题和权力的精辟分析使其上升为国家状况的叙述。阅读我们2012年1月的评论。


小水体》(Small Bodies of Water)。作者:Nina Mingya Powles。Canongate;272页;18美元和9.99英镑

Nina Mingya Powles是白人和马来西亚华人;她在15岁之前就在惠灵顿、纽约和上海之间移动。"她写道,"那时,家是一个滑稽的词"。在这本闪闪发光的散文集中,她反思了连接和分裂我们的水。就像她的第一本书《小月亮。2021年出版的《小水体》是一部关于运动、迁移和归属感的沉思录,它像一条河流一样曲折:无法遏制,总是迅速地向前涌动,问道:"你的身体在哪里停靠?哪条水是你的?"
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