Voyager: Book summary and reviews of Voyager by Russell Banks

Voyager

Travel Writings

by Russell Banks

Voyager by Russell Banks X
Voyager by Russell Banks
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  • Published in USA  May 2016
    288 pages
    Genre: Travel & Adventure

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Book Summary

The acclaimed, award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays that spans the globe, from the Caribbean to Scotland to the Himalayas.

Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. "Since childhood, I've longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery, and intrigue," he writes in this compelling anthology. The longing for escape has taken him from the "bright green islands and turquoise seas" of the Caribbean islands to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond.

In Voyager, Russell Banks, a lifelong explorer, shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh, with his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset orange metallic Hummer down Alaska's Seward Highway.

In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park this "perfect place to time-travel," he traces his own timeline. "I keep going back, and with increasingly clarity I see more of the place and more of my past selves. And more of the past of the planet as well." Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, "Voyager," Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest of self-discovery. "One climbs a mountain not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky," he explains.

Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, Voyager brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Banks makes a magnificent tour guide for landscapes both within and without." - Publishers Weekly

"Banks' ecological warnings might strike even the most fervent environmentalist as rather apocalyptic, yet in the best of these pieces, his clarity of vision and muscular prose are as transporting as a mountain ascent." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Russell Banks Author Biography

Photo: Robert Sargent Fay

Russell Banks was raised in New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts. The eldest of four children, he grew up in a working-class environment, which has played a major role in his writing.

Mr. Banks (who was the first in his family to go to college) attended Colgate University for less than a semester, and later graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before he could support himself as a writer, he tried his hand at plumbing and as a shoe salesman and window trimmer. More recently, he has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, University of New Hampshire, New England College, New York University, and Princeton University.

A prolific writer of fiction, his titles include Searching for ...

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