The Deer Park – Norman Mailer

The Deer Park lr

I bought this book at Safari Beach Lodge in Akwidaa, Ghana. That was in January 2011 and unfortunately it slipped to the back of my shelf and I was away on a series of assignments and didn’t get to read it until I was back in Europe five months later.

I am a big fan of Norman Mailer. The Brooklyn-born writer who was one of the founders of The Village Voice is incapable of writing a bad sentence. While this book (written in 1955) doesn’t quite have the sheer guts of ‘The Naked and the Dead’ or the hard unflinching journalism of ‘The Executioner’s Song’ it is still a great book. Exploring the decadence behind the Hollywood dream –and some of the strangely paranoid concepts of the communist witch-hunts – it soon becomes a thoroughly addictive page-turner. Mailer has written more than thirty books and, since there are still a far few I have yet to read, this book has convinced me that I need to start tracking down a few more for future trips.

I left this book outside a pilgrim’s hostel on the Camino de Santiago in Pamplona. Would be interesting to hear how it got to Ghana in the first place…and whether it will ever find its way back to Africa again!


Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.

Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?

This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.

More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.

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