The Melancholy of Travel
536pp (110,000 words)
Traveling, for Michael Roes, is a passion, a way of life and a state of mind. Afghanistan, Israel, Yemen, Mali, Morocco and Tunisia are all places he has visited and researched, encountering foreign cultures, dicey situations and unexpected kinships.
The author reads the internal contradictions of other value systems as a mirror of our own society’s repressed cultural unease, which is apparent all across the globe in our dealings with outsiders. In an age of mass tourism, these essays – based on diary entries from previous journeys and extensive reading – emphasise the intellectual character of travel as a search for the truth. Travel, for him, begins with a journey into the world of books, into the stories of those who have visited places one can, perhaps, never fully reach.
In The Melancholy of Travel, Michael Roes offers us an insight into foreign cultures beyond the usual tourist traps, and into the experience of the foreignness and vulnerability of the traveller.
»A compelling text not only about the encounter between cultures, but also about the relation of the individual to the world.«
Dirk Fuhrig, Deutschlandfunk Kultur