Title: The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World
Author: Matt Gross
Publisher: Da Capo Press
ISBN – 10: 030682115X
ISBN – 13: 9780306821158
Available on Amazon here.
Matt Gross wrote the ‘Frugal Traveler’ column for the New York Times. However, he began to feel the pressure of ‘traveling on the cheap at all costs.’ The book is born out of his experiences doing the Getting Lost series and is in in the words of the publisher all about ‘breaking free of the constraints of modern travel and letting the place guide you.’
This collection of essays attempts to provide insight into the life and times of a professional travel writer. While these essays take us around the world, they actually take us on a journey through the mind of Matt Gross and his perceptions of the people and places he encounters.
Gross helps us gain an insight into how the business of professional travel writing works. Sample this:
If you’re going to be a professional travel writer, you can’t exactly stop researching your destinations or give up advising readers on how to travel. The business doesn’t work that way. You don’t call up an editor, tell him you want to go to Morocco or Ireland for a couple of weeks, and have them cut you a big check. And you don’t generally head off on your own dime to one of these places, hoping you’ll be able to turn your adventures into a salable story afterward. That’s how you go broke.
No, if you want to go to, say, Tokyo, first you come up with an angle: some subset of activities or specific thematic bent.
Gross seeks to expose the pretentious behavior of seasoned travelers, himself included, who in some ways seem to have lost their sense truly exploring and absorbing the culture of the places their visit.
He shares stories of the various characters he has encountered in his travels: a barefoot French millionaire, resilient and hospitable refugees, a Cambodian prostitute and of course the Turk who gave up a corporate career to follow his dreams in an apple orchard! While the characters he talks about are definitely interesting, I found Gross’ style of describing them was a bit flat. I suppose you could credit him with not embellishing the facts.
I also found it a bit disorienting when he combined stories from his youth and experiences on his family holidays with telling of his work reviewing movies for Vietnam News and Times assignments. It didn’t help matters that some of the pages are devoted to Gross (now that’s the right word for this!) telling us about his problems with his digestive system.
Very honestly, the book failed to really grab my attention.
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for this review.
Today we’re on T of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.