Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

Questions of TravelQuestions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

Award-winning author Michelle de Kretser illuminates travel, work and modern dreams in this brilliant evocation of the way we live now. Wonderfully written, Questions of Travel is an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel.–Goodreads

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My thoughts:

I am really not sure what to think of this book. It has an interesting plot and it definitely has some beautiful prose, but the characters just fell flat for me. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I came up somewhere in the middle.

I liked the idea for this story, but honestly the idea was somewhat lost in miles of description and the slow pace of the novel. There are things happening in the book, but it takes the author a decent while to make sense of the situation and after a 100+ pages the book was still just meandering along.

This is a book that requires the reader to focus. The story is quite unique and intelligently written. The author has a pretty astonishing command of language, but I just can’t say this is my favourite book.

Sometimes the descriptions get so far off track that you can’t figure out what the original object the author describes actually is. Although there are some incredible passages in this book that are definitely worthy of being quoted, I found this novel rather lengthy for a book with such a slow moving pace.

Would I read another book by this author? Definitely. This one just wasn’t my personal taste.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided by Netgalley.


3 thoughts on “Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

  1. You know reading your blog has taught me a lot as a writer! When I’m writing a book, I’ll get to a point and I’ll say, ‘if I’m a reader, I’ll hate the pace of this story,’ but then, I’ll continue regardless. I’ll try and describe less and bring out the whole point in the story. Thanks for sharing this Ionia!


  2. I actually gave the draft of part 1 of my book to my mother with the specific instruction to tell me where she gets bored. She likes a well-paced book that tells the story without a whole lot of superfluous stuff, and that’s how I like to write, but sometimes I find myself getting bogged down with a touch of melodrama and maudlin/sentimentality. I agree with Seyi – reading your posts, Ionia, has really helped quantify how I want to approach my own books! Thank you!


    • Thank you! I really don’t mind some slower pacing, if the writing can make up for it, or if the book would seem silly with a sudden actions scene. But for a book of more than 500 pages, very little happening can be a bit off putting I believe, or at least it is for me. Great idea having beta readers. Always a great idea.


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