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- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceTo the Moon and Timbuktu (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio$50.37
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Discouraged with her domestic life in Paris and career as a reporter, Sovich embarks on an overland journey across West Africa. From her Swedish mother, who felt trapped by suburban life, Sovich inherited an escapist conception of travel: "The overriding lesson of my childhood was that travel was the only thing that could ever make a woman happy." Laced with her piquant observations, Sovich's memoir embodies the persistent longing for adventure her middle class upbringing inspired. As she traverses the harsh landscape from Morocco to Niger, Sovich finds company in the stories of female Victorian travelers, especially Englishwoman Mary Kingsley whom she describes as a "swashbuckler first, scientist second." Rejecting creature comforts, Sovich dives headlong into the desert. "I enjoy my depravation, even feel superior about it. In paring down my life like this I want to remind myself how little we actually need. There is also, however, a tinge of vanity to what I do." What she emerges with is a deeply personal journey into an incredibly remote region. Sovich casts her polished journalistic eye on the anguish and sublime beauty she encounters while unflinchingly narrating her own intensely intimate journey. (July)
To the Moon and Timbuktu
A woman finds herself unhappy in marriage, crying in the supermarket; she decides to travel, to get to know herself as an individual, not as a wife, daughter or mother. This is the set-up for the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love and also for Nina Sovich’s memoir To the Moon and Timbuktu. But the comparisons stop the minute Sovich lands in West Africa. Her travels are uncomfortable, often frightening, always illuminating and so beautifully conveyed that the reader feels present, as if she herself is watching a sunrise over the Nile.
Sovich learns early in life that “the bitter sweetness of travel fills me up and makes me feel whole,” and she spends her 20s as a reporter in the West Bank and Pakistan, experiencing new cultures. After Sovich meets her French husband Florent, she finds herself living a bourgeois life in Paris and wondering why she is unhappy. Inspired by Victorian explorer Mary Kingsley, she decides to spend six months traveling in West Africa with the legendary city of Timbuktu as her goal.
Sovich’s journeys are page-turning and suspenseful. In a cheap hotel in the Sahara, surrounded by drunken sailors, she blocks her door with a chair under the handle. Riding across the desert with four men who grow increasingly menacing, she distracts them by telling stories. Sovich finds that the best way to protect herself—and a good secret for all female travelers—is to seek out the company of other women.
Sitting in the women’s section of a market in Mali with a baby in her lap, Sovich encounters a sense of perfect peace. By the time she reaches Timbuktu, she wears a traditional boubou and walks in bare feet. Traveling has transformed her heart and mind, turned her toward the beautiful, glittering world and finally allows her to return home.