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The Romance of Elsewhere

Essays

List Price: $26.00

October 10, 2017 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5, 224 pages | ISBN 9781619029279
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“A beautiful writer, dead-on brilliant, rich in humor, possessing a dark and comforting wisdom.” ―Anne Lamott

Lynn Freed’s deeply personal essays explore our most quintessential question: What makes a home? From very early on she had imagined for herself an ideal life: a stranger in a strange place, someone just arrived, just about to leave, and always with a home to return to. As a teenager on an exchange program to the U.S., she had made up fantastic reasons to escape high school in the suburbs and spend her time in New York City. Accepting a marriage proposal as a young woman, partly because it promised just such a life—away from South Africa, where she’d grown up, and in New York as a graduate student—she found herself both restless and unmoored. At home neither in the place nor in the marriage.

What she did find, in the end, was a true marriage between writing and travel, travel and identity. Traversing decades and continents and back again, The Romance of Elsewhere captures the dilemma of the expat and does so with Freed’s signature honesty and humor. She takes on subjects as disparate as Disneyland, lovers, eco-tourism, shopping, serious illness, and the anomaly of writers who blossom into full power only in old age. Lynn has been publishing these pieces for the past three decades, and this new collection further establishes her as a renowned voice in memoir and the exploration of identity.

Lynn Freed has published seven novels, a collection of short fiction, and a collection of essays. Her work has appeared in Harper’s MagazineThe New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. Her honors include the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter award in fiction from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, two PEN/O. Henry awards, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Born in South Africa, she now lives in Northern California.

Praise

“Fans of Freed will enjoy reading (or rereading) these short works. Readers unfamiliar with her may find her, by turns, discerning or dyspeptic.”  —Booklist

“Wise, evocative, and darkly humorous . . . This collection evokes different moods, different eras, and different places with an astute, frank, and pitch-perfect narrator.” —Publishers Weekly

“Wanderlust is what ties these funny and astute personal essays together; the book is about what it means to have an insatiable hunger for experience . . . This is travel literature as memoir, drolly covering the scope of a restless creative life.” Kirkus Reviews

“If Joan Didion and Fran Lebowitz had a literary love child, she would be Lynn Freed—or, at least, the resulting book would be Lynn Freed’s essay collection, The Romance of Elsewhere . . . The collection of 20 previously-published essays spans decades and continents, and is in equal turns funny, wise, and sardonic; charting both Freed’s evolution as a traveler and her evolution as a writer. Travelers and readers seeking an unusually un-romanticized take on wandering the world will love it.” —Bustle

“No one writes funnier, more acutely observant, frank, and intelligent personal essays than Lynn Freed. If her skeptical, sardonic voice amuses us with every line, it is largely because she is a grown-up in a culture of adolescence, who has done her psychological homework and taken the full measure of her experience, mistakes included. In this, her best nonfiction collection, you will come to know her narrator as one of the most nuanced and sophisticated characters in contemporary literature, and in the process make a new friend.” —Phillip Lopate, author of A Mother’s Tale

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