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Reviews, Travel books

Book Review: Stranger on a Train

Stranger on a trainVirago Press, Jenny Diski: Despite being the winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, Stranger on a Train struck me as more of an autobiography than a travel narrative (it also won the J.R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography). You’ll find no eloquent descriptions of alluring destinations – in fact the author more or less circumnavigates the USA without actually alighting other than to change trains (‘daydreaming and smoking around America without interruptions’). So rather than via experiences and anecdotes relating to places visited it is through her wonderfully described encounters with those that she meets onboard that give us a taste of the states; the pages are peppered with people whose stories draw us in and bring the book to life. The way these stories are integrated with the author’s own musings makes for an enticing read that should more than ensure no one is disappointed by the fact that they are never really transported to any actual destinations. Emma Crawley


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