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Falling Off the Map


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About the Author

Pico Iyer has written nonfiction books on globalism, Japan, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and forgotten places, and novels on Revolutionary Cuba and Islamic mysticism. He regularly writes about literature for The New York Review of Books; about travel for the Financial Times; and about global culture and the news for Time, The New York Times, and magazines around the world.


Only some of the ``lonely places'' covered in this book (North Korea, Argentina, Cuba, Iceland, Bhutan, Vietnam, Paraguay, Australia) are isolated by geography, but all are culturally or politically isolated. That few tourist itineraries include these misfit countries increases their sense of being alone in the world. Iyer, a journalist for Time and Conde Nast Traveler , writes in a cool, ironic style similar to that of the late Bruce Chatwin. His essays are more impressionistic than informative and seem intended for armchair travelers rather than adventurers. At times, Iyer is a bit too detached, too unruffled by what he experiences. He does not fully convey to us the strangeness of the strange places he has visited. Despite the lack of emotion, Iyer's impressions make interesting reading. Recommended for public libraries.-- Mary C. Kalfatovic, Telesec Lib. Svces., Washington, D.C.

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