In search of literary history and adventure,Tony Perrottet leaves behind the chaotic crowds of Manhattan for the far reaches of Europeon settlements where he explores the secret histories and strange connections of forgotten corners of the world.The entertaining tales of his obsessive travels to Tierra del Fuego,Thursday Island,St.Petersburg,and other places are peppered with anecdotes about Ernest Hemingway's fishing guide(who was the model for The Old Man and the Sea), Robinson Crusoe's bawdy lifestyle,and ...
In search of literary history and adventure,Tony Perrottet leaves behind the chaotic crowds of Manhattan for the far reaches of Europeon settlements where he explores the secret histories and strange connections of forgotten corners of the world.The entertaining tales of his obsessive travels to Tierra del Fuego,Thursday Island,St.Petersburg,and other places are peppered with anecdotes about Ernest Hemingway's fishing guide(who was the model for The Old Man and the Sea), Robinson Crusoe's bawdy lifestyle,and other little known facts.For every exotic adventure in a remote landscape Perrottet shows the reader the other side of his wild life: on the densely populated isle of Manhattan.
Perrottet writes with laconic understatement about what happens when mythology and reality meet in out of the way places.... But Off the Deep End is more than a collection of amusing travel anecdotes and outsiders' observations. (For example) Perrottet's accounts of Cuba and St Petersburg are as much an expose of American-style capitalism as they are a commentary on old-style communism.
New York Times Book Review
"Among the meetings (Norman) Lewis reports is a "shattering" conversation with the depleted Ernest Hemingway. In Off The Deep End: Travels in Forgotten Frontiers, the Australian writer and photographer Tony Perrottet also visits Cuba, this time in search of Hemingway's spirit, which he fails to find in a series of gloomy bars and in the much-rehearsed anecdotes told by the writer's ex-skipper and fishing guide. Each essay in Perrottet's book concerns a journey to "some sort of former colonial frontier," a place "as obscure as possible" with "some kind of wierd literary association." Thus Perrottet travels to the South Pacific island on which Alexander Selkirk -- the model for Defoe's Robinson Crusoe -- was marooned. He collects Faulkner gossip in Oxford, Miss., and in St Petersburg finds a Dostoyevskian "vision of the city as a spectral landscape, where inhuman thoughts would breed like fungal cultures." The essays are interspersed with vignettes from the author's adopted home -- Manhattan's East Village -- which comes to seem the wierdest place of all." (December 7, 1997, p54).
Sydney Morning Herald
The best part of this book, for my money, is his travels in Manhattan, where he lives and works in the East Village. His prose snapshots -- from the club scene to the Colombian drug lords who cruise the streets to the woman who cleans up the block -- are brittle and bright.
Time Out New York
New York-based travel writer Tony Perrottet's first collection of travel essays covers strange and exotic ground: Belize, Iceland, Cuba, Russia and our very own East Village... Each excursion is followed up by an anecdote about life in Perrottet's Tenth Street apartment... the sections on NYC will certainly resonate with anyone trying to get by in the Big A.
Expatriate Australian writer-photographer Perrottet seeks to escape his East Village apartment in Manhattan by paying periodic visits to the world's last frontiers. Perrottet, a contributing editor to Islands and frequent contributor to Esquire, Outside, et al., roams the globe with a $15 Chinese-made plastic camera, looking for the few out-of-the-way and obscure places not already invaded by McDonalds, television, and other writers similarly inclined. Actually, in this amusing volume, he is actively seeking out places with a literary connection to Defoe, Faulkner, Dostoevsky, and Maugham, among others. With that slender thread to connect the pieces, he visits the Juan Fernandez Islands, where Alexander Selkirk, real-life model for Robinson Crusoe, was marooned; Faulkner's home in Oxford, Miss.; Hemingway's haunts in an increasingly impoverished Havana; and Bruce Chatwin's most famous destination, Tierra del Fuego. Perrottet alternates his 11 voyages with equally jaundiced tales set in the squalor of New York City, where he lives with his girlfriend in a veritable state of siege owing to his noisy, crazy neighbors. Thus, the book wanders amiably from one tropical-paradise hellhole (or one sub-Arctic hellhole) to another, returning regularly to the worst hellhole of all, Manhattan. At first glance, one fears that this will be just one more "around the world in a lousy mood," dyspeptic travel book. But Perrottet is honest enough in his self-appraisal (and his recounting of endless bibulousness) to take the edge off what might otherwise be a nasty reading experience. Still, one wishes the photo reproductions were bigger and the individual pieces longer and more detailed. Not on a par withChatwin or Raban, but a pleasant read for the armchair adventurer.