As the holiday season rushes towards us a whole host of new travel books are appearing any one of which could find a useful place in your backpack or luggage.
This collection — with an introduction by Michael Palin — is a fundraising project for Oxfam. But that being said, the compilation is a superb one. Here you will find a collection of complete pieces and excerpts from bigger works. each of the contributions vividly brings alive the experience of travelling and the range of experiences featured here are very different. This is a book to dip into, no chapter too long to not be able to read in one go. There is some profoundly beautiful writing here. Some of it is quirky. Some of it is from some of the most respected writers of their generation. Some of it is from promising new talent that I have not come across before. Some of the stuff is very, very, special indeed.
The established writers include Nicholas Shakespeare, John Julius Norwich, Dervla Murphy, Chris Stewart Jason Webster and Rory McLean. New talent includes Jasper Winn, Sara Wheeler, Tim Butcher and Sonia Falerio — great writers who are a pleasure to get to know. (At least these writers were new to me).
The superstars of travel writing include Paul Theroux, Colin Thubron, William Dalrymple ad Jan Morris.
And then there is the final bonus which is worth the price of this book alone. Patrick Leigh Fermor is for me the best travel writer of the 20th Century. The last volume of his London to Constantinople walk may never see the light of day as Fermor died a few months ago. But, here we have a story from the last part of the journey, from the book that may never see the light of day.
Definitely worth reading this summer Ox Tales will not only entertain but give you some new names to search out. Even when I’d read the stories before I found I didn’t mind that much — only great stories are here and like all great stories they benefit from telling more than once!