Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

Questions of Travel is an ambitious novel but certainly an enjoyable read. In it Australian author Michelle de Kretser explores ideas about a travel – whether that is travel as a tourist (or 'traveller'), as an immigrant or refugee, or travel through cyberspace via the world wide web. Wherever and however you travel there is an inevitable sense of being a stranger at some stage, and the book also looks at this notion of being foreign. At various times the characters feel like strangers in their own countries, at their work places, in their own relationships, while travelling and in their adopted homes, and these ideas are beautifully handled. In fact the themes of travel and being an outsider are the most enjoyable and certainly most thought-provoking aspects of the novel. The story itself is at times entertaining and at times touching. Australian-born Laura inherits some money and takes off overseas. When she eventually returns from her travels she starts a job as a travel guide publisher. Sri Lankan IT worker Ravi is trying to make a life for himself in his volatile homeland. He dreams of travel but then finds he is forced to leave after a terrible tragedy close to home.

The stories of these two characters, and the many others whose paths they cross over the course of the novel, are told with a lot of humour, with political insight, with interesting historical references and with a great sense of loss.

Review by Andi @ Great Escape Books