Saturday, April 28, 2012

Stories about a Journey


Or a road trip. Reading the excellent THE EDGE OF DARK WATER (Lansdale) right now and a few months back, I read Bonnie Jo Campbell's equally good, ONCE UPON A RIVER. I guess THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN began this sort of journey in America but I am sure earlier or contemporaneous writers--well perhaps Thoreau at least--took their readers on a journey.

What is your favorite story where the character(s) took a trip? Who used this vehicle (no pun intended) best?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmm, that's a tough one to remember. I just read the Lansdale too, which most clearly evokes Twain. I'll have to think about it. A few others that come to mind: King's The Stand and Charles Portis's Norwood and The Dog of the South.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I just got both of those. Looking forward to reading them.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

HUCK FINN definitely as well as MOBY DICK and TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES... my first exposure to the classics in school. More recently, WHEN THE GOING WAS GOOD by Evelyn Waugh.

David Cranmer said...

I enjoyed Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS and, of course, FINN.

Richard R. said...

I still love Steinbeck's TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE , and ON THE ROAD WITH CHARLES KURALT as well. As for fictional road trip books, I'm still thinking.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess WINTERS BONE is about a journey even if a localized one. And I guess a journey can be through time--even ones own.

Ron Scheer said...

I often think of BLUE HIGHWAYS and Steinbeck's TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE, though it's been many years since I read them. Also ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTANENCE...I got to meet and hear Bonnie Jo Campbell at the Montana Book Festival last fall. Cool lady.

George said...

THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy is one long trip. THE ODYSSEY is the template for all stories about a journey.

Cap'n Bob said...

There's always Kerouac. I also enjoyed The Strawberry Statement.

Anonymous said...

I guess I could have included TRUE GRIT in the list as well. BLUES HIGHWAYS, yes. If we're talking non fiction I'd also include Jonathan Raban's Old Glory: A Voyage Down the Mississippi; Peter Jenkins' A Walk Across America; Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (and his British and Continental travel books); Tony Hawks's Round Ireland With a Fridge and Eric Newby's Learning the Ropes: An Apprentice on the Last of the Windjammers, among others. Also the aforementioned Steinbeck and Kuralt books.

Jeff M.

F.T. Bradley said...

CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff I loved for its strange WWI journey across Russia.

In short stories, ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY by Stephen King is good.

I want to write a road story myself one day...

Jerry House said...

The first two to pop into my mind were Robert McCammon's GOING SOUTH and Stephen King's (as "Richard Bachman") THE LONG WALK.

Al Tucher said...

Two very different books: The Dead Father, by Donald Barthelme, and Going After Cacciato, by Tim O'Brien.

Todd Mason said...

A lot of journeying in that anthology with R. A. Lafferty I sent you a while back, which I hope you've given a try...Kerouac was contemporaneous with Patricia Highsmith's THE PRICE OF SALT, and she actually published shortly after writing hers...which in its turn influenced LOLITA, apparently. And, as I noted a while back, damned if Marijane "Vin Packer" Meaker's SPRING FIRE doesn't involve a similar if less ambitious bit of roaming the countryside in autos.

But among those that actually about the trip rather than what it means to the characters and their development, aside from nearly all of Verne, and Wells as usual was digging a bit deeper in his journeying fiction, there's Twain again, with TOM SAWYER ABROAD and the nonfictional travel books which are larded with folktales and sketches, and Kipling and Stevenson and London, also making the adventure stand in for life, or be simply the means of explicating the life...going back to at least one template that predates, though who knows how directly influentially, that of Odysseus...that of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

Meanwhile, the sentimental favorite of my youth would be Keith Robertson's HENRY REED'S JOURNEY.