The Art of Travel: Reviews

Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker, 11 September 2002

Read at the New Yorker website

Once again, de Botton employs what has become his unique literary combination punch – the left jabbing hard at immediate experience, the right swinging long from a muscular knowledge of philosophy and belles lettres – to take on a quotidian subject. In this new book, he considers travel as he has previously considered Proust and the Stoics, and takes the reader on a tour of service stations and the Sublime, beach bungalows and Baudelaire’s escapist fantasies. Once again, de Botton’s desire to teach at all times, and his refusal to consider practical needs smaller than abstract ones – just as he wanted Proust to change your life, he now wants Baudelaire to help you endure airports more easily – makes his writing not only shapely but somehow ingenious and lovable even in its wildest flights.

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