When irascible women go travelling (and write about it)

Jenny Diski Stranger on a train Robyn Davidson Tracks

If you expect travel to be a vehicle for the psyche and you expect travel writers to deliver a satisfying story about growing, changing and knowing themselves better (via foreign space and human encounters), then steer a clear path around both Jenny Diski and Robyn Davidson, both of whom I read because of a trip to Australia. I was in need of a book for the long plane journey from Joburg to Sydney and borrowed Diski’s Stranger on a Train from friend Gillian and then having finished it within days of arrival needed another so borrowed Davidson’s Tracks from brother-in-law Tony (choosing to start here on my reading tour of this new place).

I hadn’t intended to think of the two together but Davidson’s book of crossing the outback with camels from 1980 and Diski’s 2002 accounts of a boat journey plus two train journeys, came together in my head in surprising ways. (I had heard of Davidson’s 1977 adventure from Alice to Perth (via Uluru) at the time and who knew they would choose 2013 to make it into a movie with Mia Wasikowska as Davidson.)

Both books are nicely surprising in multiple ways; let me enumerate: Continue reading “When irascible women go travelling (and write about it)”