Saturday, October 02, 2004

o'hanlon

The best. The very best. The very best, funniest writer of travel essay today is Brit, Redmond O'Hanlon who has given us Into the Heart of Borneo, In Trouble Again(South American Jungle), No Mercy(Congo) and soon Trawler(at sea in the North Atlantic). One thing that marks an O'Hanlon book is always the foil he brings with him. He begins by reading up on his destination(diseases, hostile fauna, hostile people) and working himself into a lather of fear. He then invites an even wimpier traveling companion. In Borneo its the poet James Fenton who is reading the works of George Crabbe even when rafting the dangerous Sepik river. O'Hanlon used to write for Nature Magazine and now is a columnist for TLS. As a member of the Royal Geographic Society he should know what he's doing but his slapstick antics in dangerous realms are ideal armchair travel. It's lovely to read at home out of harms way while O'Hanlon battles spiders, snakes and pin worms.

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