Book Review: Travelling In A Strange Land

Travelling in a Strange Land

Middle age.

It’s a cheerful euphemism for old men to delude themselves that they’re not (yet!) over the hill.

A phrase intended to offer the illusion of youth and vitality that works most of the time… until it doesn’t.

And for someone in this twilight zone who reads ‘Travelling in a Strange Land’ by David Park, it will have a special meaning and resonance that I’d imagine it hard for other readers to find in the poignant reflections and insightful self-commentary about a life filled with its fair share of mistakes and misjudgment.

“The flashing lights of the ambulance disappear into the distance. Someone else’s pain, someone else’s loss. I’m sorry for them but they’re welcome to it, and I can’t share it because I’ve got my own share – and even a little more might be more than I know how to bear.”

It’s a parenting chronicle, written not in the first flush of excited fatherhood, with eyes dazzled by rosy visions of the future, and an imagination fired with ambitious dreams for the years ahead, but rather from a more sober, reflective, even self-critical standpoint of twenty years later.

  • Tortured by doubt.
  • Ridden with anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Torn by not knowing.

Yet soldiering on to the best of one’s ability.

In other words, the narrator’s powerful writing from the heart reflects real parenthood.

Hopeful, yet fearful. Passionate, and also troubled. Optimistic, but wary.

That the entire story involves a drive in the snow to pick up a sick teenage son who is stranded in a college hostel miles away from home is intriguing. The story that emerges in bits and pieces along the long ride is fascinating, gripping. The powerful message that you get at the end is lasting and meaningful.

‘Travelling In A Strange Land’ is a book every parent will cherish and relate to. It’s also one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Travelling in a Strange Land

Don’t miss my review of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fck

 

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