Olivia Laing's second book, The Trip to Echo Spring, is part travel memoir, part literary criticism light. She explores the lives of six twentieth century American writers – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver – who were united by both their addiction to the written word and to alcohol. And in some odd way, Laing's deep interest in each author, and in these two oft-associated activities, makes for a pretty fascinating read.
A meticulously planned journey to see and experience the places that were important to these writers brings Laing from England to the United States and results in many hours and days of train riding and hotel rooms - writing, reading and reflecting all the while. She makes no effort in her prose to hide her fascination with the American landscape or how being consistently "...
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