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Published: Jul 30 2009
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An accomplished literary critic and historian, Russell Fraser is the Austin Warren Professor of English Language and Literature Emeritus at the University of Michigan. He is author or editor of nearly two dozen books, including Shakespeare: A Life in Art and Moderns Worth Keeping. Fraser lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
"From China to Peru is a golden book, the shining culmination of years of polished thought, a travel book raised on knowledge and experience and tempered by a rich personality. Personal and historical anecdotes run in rich seams through the pages, making wondrously strong impressions, making me want to shed quiet domesticity and tread the boards of the world seeing and learning, going everywhere and anywhere."—Sam Pickering, author of Waltzing the Magpies: A Year in Australia and Edinburgh Days, or Doing What I Want to Do
"Russell Fraser's From China to Peru is a fascinating series of travel sketches that can be read in any order and that, taken in their totality, add up to a book worth rereading. The author provides an autobiographical prelude for each essay, and so the reader learns of passages in Fraser's earlier life as well as the passages of travel that provide the places and themes of these pieces. Fraser is a keen observer of the human scene wherever the action unfolds before him. His sharp wit and profound learning are revealed through his engaging voice and his distinctive style. Anyone interested in the literature of travel will want to read these essays—excursions into the great world of humanity, geography, and history."—George Core, senior editor, Sewanee Review
"A novelist I knew said, of a certain kind of book, they are all the same: we go there, they come here. He might have meant travel books but that wouldn't describe Russell Fraser's From China to Peru, a book in which the author journeys, intensely open-eyed, to France, England, Scotland, China, Peru, and elsewhere, and then returns after many years, providing a marvelous double window on what place is, what change is, and, most crucial, who Fraser is. Readers won't go far before they see this man has serious knowledge, is steeped in history and literature, is as contrary as he is felicitous, and makes a verbal trip almost the real thing. Any book is, finally, as good as the companionship of the author and I am convinced this fellow offers what we all want of good talk and better times together. He makes going there and coming here a memorably different, special treat."—Dave Smith, author of Little Boats, Unsalvaged and The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970–2000
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