Sunday Morning! Traveling with Laurence Sterne and Michel Houellebecq

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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5 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Mark Twain was, of course, an enthusiastic travel writer. The Innocents Abroad was his first national success, and he followed that up with the even funnier A Tramp Abroad. When later in life bad investments left him destitute, his solution was to book a world lecture-giving tour which game him material for the book Following the Equator.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      When I taught an undergraduate course on travel and exploration, one of the books I assigned was The Innocents Abroad, which is very entertaining. By that point, tourism was basically the craze it is today and he realizes some of its absurdity.Report

  2. Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Talking about Houellebeqc without talking about Catholicism is, in at least my opinion, completely missing his point. Which I think most of modern France, and the world at large does. When looked at like that (and I am not a Catholic) he makes much more sense.

    But there you go.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard this. The problem is, even if he does make much more sense that way, he’d still be a shitty writer. His characters are flat and uninteresting, the twists in the story are so obvious long before they happen that it’s hard not to skip chapters, and the central love story is just a sort of banal fantasy that’s clearly setting us up for her ‘tragic’ death, which isn’t tragic because, again, it’s telegraphed so far in advance. It’s the same problem with later J.G. Ballard- even if you’re intrigued by his viewpoints, it’d be better to read them in an essay than a badly-written novel.Report

  3. Lady D
    Ignored
    says:

    Have you read The Lost City of the Monkey God? It’s about a very recent discovery of a lost ancient people in Honduras. It’s a very fun read and it proves that we have yet to fully discover EVERYTHING. It added a little wonder back into the world for me.Report

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