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Nomad's Hotel: Travels in Time and Space

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Nomad's Hotel: Travels in Time and Space.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Cees Nooteboom(Author),Ann Kelland(Translator),Alberto Manguel(Introduction)

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Since his first voyage, as a sailor earning his passage from his native Holland to South America, Cees Nooteboom has never stopped traveling.Now his best travel pieces are gathered in this collection of immense range and depth, informed throughout by the author’s humanity and gentle humor. From exotic places such as Isfahan,Gambia, and Mali to seemingly domesticated places such as Australia and Munich,Nooteboom shares his view of the world, showing us the strangeness in places we thought we knew and the familiarity of places most of us will probably never see.
His phenomenal gifts as an observer and the wealth of his reading and learning make him an authoritative and delightful companion.
Nomad’s Hotel is a record of a world-class traveler’s many discoveries and insights.

One of the Netherlands’ foremost novelists (Lost Paradise, 2007), Nooteboom is also a notable travel writer (Roads to Santiago, 1997). This collection gathers journeys of the past 40 years to Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, West Africa, Iran, and Australia. In them, descriptive travelogue ranks second to considerations of the destinations as repositories of the past. Whether in Venice, Isfahan, or Timbuktu, Nooteboom sees a place through its physical relics and literary associations. The traveler’s innate foreignness, however well informed before arrival in a new place, burgeons with significance for Nooteboom. A traveler arrives, sees, and departs, not likely to return. While the philosophical musings coursing through Nooteboom’s pieces may not be to every travel reader’s taste, they are leavened by the kind of vicarious adventuring that is more to be expected in a travel book. Few ever visit Gambia, after all, but Nooteboom’s been there and elsewhere off the conventional path and will intrigue seekers of a reflective style in the travel genre, in particular. ADVANCE PRAISE FOR NOMAD'S HOTEL“A book for anyone who has ever felt that eternal traveler’s longing to see more, to know more, to live fully in every place they inhabit.”-Madeleine Thien, author of Certainty “A jewel of a travel book, free of pretension, full of easy adventure, fresh with childlike wonder for the world.”-The Guardian PRAISE FOR NOMAD'S HOTEL"These journeys of prizewinning Dutch novelist Nooteboom are as much head trips as passages through space....Nooteboom conveys the excitement of things he doesn't understand, signs and languages he can't decipher, a culture that rebuffs him and the refreshing shock of the wholly unknown...A profound engagement with travel on the astral plane."-Kirkus Reviews"[A] lyrical collection...Nooteboom weaves a compelling, perceptive, and yet wondering view of the places he visits...Armchair travelling at its best but also of interest to anyone who enjoys outstanding writing."-Library Journal"[Nooteboom] has spent a career traveling for the purpose of producing books and essays, and the results are stunning, as is shown in this collection."-RL Magazine

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Review Text

  • By R. M. Peterson on October 18, 2009

    That is the ideal hotel of Cees Nooteboom (b. 1933), an accomplished Dutch novelist and world traveler. In addition to his nine or so novels, Nooteboom has authored even more books of travel writing. NOMAD'S HOTEL is a collection of English translations of various of his travel pieces written between 1971 and 2002.The locales that are the subjects of these essays range from Gambia, Mali, and Morocco in Africa, to Iran (circa 1975 and still under the Shah), to the island of Aran, and include the cities of Venice, Munich, Mantua, and Zurich. In addition, there are several miscellaneous travel-related pieces, including two entitled "Nooteboom's Hotel", mosaics composed of the most distinctive features and experiences from the hundreds of hotels in which he has stayed. Through the course of the book, Nooteboom muses about the very exercise of travel. Harking back to a 12th-Century Arabian philosopher, he gives credit for at least part of the attraction of travel to the notion of "siyaha" or "pilgrimage": "Traveling around the world, meditating and drawing nearer to God. The latter would be a pretension for me, but substitute the word 'God' with 'mystery' and I do feel able to subscribe to it."Three things elevate NOMAD'S HOTEL above the run-of-the-mill collection of travel pieces. First, there is Nooteboom's extraordinary eye or percipience, which he complements with a novelist's imagination. Second, Nooteboom's essays are unusually rich in their historical dimension. He treats his foreign locales as so many different doors to the past, so that the book, a la its subtitle, truly is part time travel. Third, the book is superbly written. On all three points, one might be excused for thinking that perhaps Jorge Luis Borges was at least a collaborator.NOMAD'S HOTEL is not a book to be read at one or two sittings. The pieces are so rich, so complex and imaginative, that they should be savored individually -- much like, come to think of it, the stories of Borges.

  • By Warren J. Stout on October 3, 2009

    The best part of this book is the poetic writing. This is not in the exciting adventure genre. It is more about how the places affected the author than descriptive of the places themselves. It is more like being in the place, as the author, than seeing the various locals written about. Good travel reading. Highly recommended.

  • By Brian Maitland on November 11, 2011

    I found Nooteboom's writing just too wordy and flowery to get through. I gave up pretty much at the start. Just could not wrap my head round his style of writing. Very disappointing given the places of interest Cees Noopedeedoo visited.

  • By Lavish Bookshelf on November 18, 2010

    I consider myself to be relatively savvy when it comes to geography. On the other hand, I know I'm reading a great travel book when I'm forced to admit geographical ignorance and must retreat to my atlas. As I read Nomad's Hotel by Cees Nooteboom, I literally had to read the book with the atlas by my side. Yeah, the book is THAT good.Nomad's Hotel was recently published in 2009, but actually the book is a collection of essays stretching over the past 40-something years of Cees Nooteboom's traveling life. This point is crucial to understanding some the events being described. For example, Nooteboom beautifully describes a visit to Iran, but the visit was in 1975. Nooteboom vividly describes an exotic location which no longer exists given the historical events in that region in the past 30 years. In doing so, Nooteboom's traveling expertise and writing talent have preserved a world we may never be able to explore.At times a few of the essays were a tad bit long and poetic for my liking. Since the book isn't written chronologically, I simply skipped one oddly poetic chapter in particular and jumped right back into the traveling forays of Cees Nooteboom.Nothing about the book is terribly adventuresome as Nooteboom never tackles high-endurance pursuits such as a climb to the top of Mt. Everest. Rather, Nomad's Hotel is filled with quiet sophisticated backpacker travel. Nooteboom's writing style is what sets this book apart from many other travel narratives though. On Ireland's Aran Islands, Nooteboom reports "the grass is idiotically green, but as I climb on toward the fort I squelch through brownish mud full of the cloven-hoofed imprints of cattle." All of Nooteboom's essays are descriptive, insightful and entertaining.

  • By Pete Bogg on August 31, 2016

    Most of us, for a variety of reasons, cannot and have not packed up and gone off to see the world. Cees Nooteboom has, and we're all the better for it. In an age when we spend too much time in cyberworlds, cut off from others and perhaps even ourselves, Nooteboom has reminded us, in descriptions and observations of places far and near, exotic and deceptively familiar, that wonder, mystery, surprise, and delight are, like the elements themselves, spread throughout the world. Look, think, feel, ask. The mystery is as much inside as out there. A marvelous book.

  • By lumindanu on October 19, 2013

    I loved this book. So... it starts out slow, and yes, the person who gave it one star is right about wordiness up to a point... if you stick with it, after the first paragraph, it's not so wordy, or you forget about the wordiness as you get captured by the writing. It's a wonderful sort of a thinking book, about place... It's like talking to a really interesting friend who goes off on delightful tangents periodically...

  • By sdk on November 27, 2009

    Nooteboom travel writes like no other: fearless, an acute observer and highly gifted. A serious but unpretentious intellectual, Nooteboom's writing inspires travel for discovery and self-discovery. Truly deep. I read this book and his others slowly to absorb his perspectives on life and human behavior. (Not as demanding as Roads to Santiago.)

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