The Turk Who Loved Apples

The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World

The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World

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.


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About CorinneRodrigues

A Mumbai-based blogger, writer, motivator - journeying happily through midlife. I blog here and on Write Tribe and From 7Eight. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+


  1. I usually find travel stories very interesting .. But the storyteller must have a knack of making his tales interesting .. if his writing style is Flat as you say.. I wonder if Ill enjoy it !

  2. Hi Corinne,

    Don’t tell me you are reading books too while going through this challenge! If you are – you amaze me 🙂

    It’s been a while since I read a book, as even the leisure hours aren’t really mine and are mostly spent cleaning up the house, cooking, or seeing to the kids. I guess I better get into books a little before I forget how they feel! Though it was a nicely written review, but not my cup of tea either.

    Thanks for sharing, and wishing you the best with the few days remaining for the challenge 🙂

    • If I tell you I have been reading books, you’ll realize that I am an addict. Okay, so I am!
      I’m hoping you find time for yourself when the girls have their vacations, Harleena.
      Thanks for your good wishes – always.

  3. It started off as a OH…and ended with a ummm…
    That was an honest review. I find essays and short stories very interesting and was hoping this one would measure up .

  4. Pheno Menon says:

    I am not very fond of essays but your review is interesting 🙂


  5. I have hardly read books on travel….lonely planet doesnt count does it :). Maybe I should start with one from that genre

  6. It is so important for travelogue writers to make their writings more narrative. Very few actually take you, the reader, along with them on the ride.

  7. Won’t be putting this one on my reading list then!

  8. What good is a writer if (s)he cannot engage the reader. I don’t think I want to read this one.

  9. I like the insight the author gave about how the business of professional travel writing works. Was not aware of this!

  10. stories of various travellers seem interesting. Not sure about the “Gross” pages :p
    M not much in to travel books . would like to read a good one

  11. Documentation of travels may not always be an interesting read.

  12. Hi Corinne !
    This did not appeal to me …

  13. Everybody has a story to tell but some need professional help in narrating those stories 🙂

  14. It sounded promising but in the end, I guess I’ll give the book a miss then!

  15. Wonderful meet you and your blog. I first heard about you from Vidya and I have come here from UBC.
    I admire your honest review doesn’t sounds like my kind of book

    • Thanks for your comment, Suzie. I’m smiling at your remark that you first heard about me from Vidya Sury! We’ve been connected on Facebook for ages now. Just recently, I shared your request for votes for your book. My other blog is – so it’s possible you don’t associate me with this one.

  16. So Gross was gross in the book though briefly, eh? Just kidding:)

  17. When the personality author shadows the characters in his books (Whether fiction or non fiction), it means the loss of one more reader 🙂 Perhaps I will not read this book 🙂

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