Travels in Syria: A Love Story

Travels in Syria: A Love Story

by Carol Miller
     
 

Freelance writer and photographer Carol Miller confirms herself a dedicated historian in Travels in Syria. After years of painstaking research, Miller offers readers a front-row seat to an ancient world with recovered court records, ancient household items, and the documentation of Anna Komnene, one of the first female historians, who wrote of her Byzantine

Overview

Freelance writer and photographer Carol Miller confirms herself a dedicated historian in Travels in Syria. After years of painstaking research, Miller offers readers a front-row seat to an ancient world with recovered court records, ancient household items, and the documentation of Anna Komnene, one of the first female historians, who wrote of her Byzantine father's reign.

Behind Miller's work is a less weighty, but equally appealing travel narrative as the author and her husband-companion move among modern civilizations juxtaposed against the remains of an earlier time.

"It's a pleasure and a delight to envision Miller encountering young women with their babies and laundry in a structure that contains a deep stone stairway leading to 'an ancient drainage system,' a remnant of Aleppo's Old City walls."-Heather Weber, ForeWord Reviews (5 of 5 stars)

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-14
Miller's passionate, history-laden travelogue about Syria bemoans the country's bygone beauty and greatness. Miller (Laying on of Hands, 2003), an artist and prolific author, has explored numerous cultures, including Peruvian, Mexican and Asian, and she now trains her perceptive eye on Syria, a country she's visited multiple times and studied for years. The resulting project could be considered a memoir of her travels in one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites on Earth, but it functions more as a historical tour through 21 Syrian cities, each with its own chapter. While Miller indeed serves as a knowledgeable and fervent guide, extolling the splendors of Syrian art, music, literature and especially architecture, she struggles to define her audience. The book's title suggests a personal memoir perhaps intended to heal Syria's modern image, but before Miller ever mentions herself, the first 20 pages describe Damascus' vastness and architecture, parse the city's name and meander through its violent religious legacy. The opening information is so dense, it's jolting to hear Miller suddenly wax personal. As the book progresses in this manner, with Miller occasionally pausing the tour in order to voice her lyrical whims, it becomes clear her presence only provides a periodic sense of personality to what is otherwise a rambling history book. After describing the Hanibla mosque in Damascus, whose tombs house "heroes and mystics," Miller unexpectedly shifts from tour guide to poet: "How much of love is laughter? How much of faith is the promise of redemption? How much of beauty is a moment, when time, like breathing or a scent, stops in its tracks, looks around, and says, ‘I may have been here before. I may have loved like this.' " The bigger problem, perhaps, is that Miller never fully reveals her identity in relation to the country, nor why she's in Syria in the first place. Readers must piece together the fact that she's merely a tourist herself, that the countless references to "we" include her husband and that she has no intentions beside lamenting the country's prominent but forgotten past. Miller is otherwise a capable, astute and thorough writer with an eye for antique elegance. An uneven but ultimately engrossing celebration of Syrian culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781492371458
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
12/02/2013
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)

Meet the Author

Carol Miller, "The Renaissance Woman of Mexico," was born in Los Angeles and became a journalist at age fifteen. Moving to Mexico in 1954, she became a regular contributor to Mexican Life and Mexico This Month, among other Mexican magazines and newspapers.

Since then, Miller has been a syndicated travel writer, translator, film and art critic, magazine editor, lecturer, photographer, and gastronome. She has worked for ad agencies, public relations firms, craft centers, and archaeological projects.

Beyond writing and photography, Miller has also been a sculptress for over fifty years, with some two hundred gallery and museum exhibits to her credit.

An adventurer as well as a scholar, Miller's books combine her love of art, archaeology, history, and travel. Her other titles include The Winged Prophet: From Hermes to Quetzalcoatl, Travels in the Maya World, and Travels in the Asian World.

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