×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

You Can't Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World
  • Alternative view 1 of You Can't Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World
  • Alternative view 2 of You Can't Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World
     

You Can't Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World

by Gayle Forman
 

See All Formats & Editions

Gayle Forman goes where others fear to tread. As a freelance reporter she seeks out stories from people on the edges. So when her husband suggests an escape from their cramped Hell's Kitchen apartment for an extended trip around the world, she agrees-on the condition that they stick to the fringes.

In these eight interconnecting stories, Forman traces the

Overview

Gayle Forman goes where others fear to tread. As a freelance reporter she seeks out stories from people on the edges. So when her husband suggests an escape from their cramped Hell's Kitchen apartment for an extended trip around the world, she agrees-on the condition that they stick to the fringes.

In these eight interconnecting stories, Forman traces the trajectory from her relatively comfortable life in New York to her sometimes extreme-and extremely personal-experiences in some of the most exotic spots on Earth. In each of these places she seeks out the most colorful characters and communities she can find. On the island nation of Tonga she throws a party for a clique of lovelorn transvestites, and in rural South Africa she tracks down the so-called Lost Tribe of Israel. Then there's the English-obsessed Beijing doctor who pushes linguistic boundaries-and Forman's patience-to the breaking point with his sloppy, choppy Chinglish. And in the mountains of Kazakhstan she's befriended by a gang of Lord of the Rings fans acting out their Middle-Earth fantasy games as a way to reclaim their European roots.

What Forman comes to realize, and what she reveals with a sharp eye and sensitive ear, is the Big Truth: The planet is shrinking as surely as you can buy Coca-Cola in Kandahar, and yet still there's room for us all.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Award-winning journalist Forman is a world traveler married to Nick, a librarian struck by wanderlust. When Nick suggests a year of travel, Forman agrees, with some trepidation and conditions: they start at the beach, maintain their separate space, and spend long periods in one place. This is Forman's story of their fascinating adventure: searching for Tolkienists in Kazakhstan; learning about the Lemba, the Jewish population in Africa; and exploring the subculture of the cross-dressing fakaleiti in Tonga. Throughout, Forman seeks out connections with those on the fringes of society, reveling in the relationships she is able to forge. Her husband, conversely, enjoys days in the bar and prefers North American society, causing some friction. Traveling together and separately, they fight and make up, learn how to deal with the new tensions this trip brings, and eventually return to New York City closer than before. All of this is packaged in a personal, engrossing description of a year of adventure and education. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Alison Hopkins, Brantford P.L., Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Travels in search of the merely exotic. Debut author Forman, well known to readers of Seventeen, takes a teenager's delight in casting herself as an outcast, a "Weird Girl" whose journeys tend to involve adoption by immigrant florists or drag queens or street performers, and who has thus seen several countries from perspectives generally denied the casual tourist. When she and her husband decide to spend a year wandering from one remote outpost to another in the wake of 9/11, the two-accompanied, sad to say, by big-wheeled suitcases to which they'd given names-naturally drift into some unusual circles. In Tonga, for instance (which Forman inaccurately describes as "rarely visited by tourists," even though in the year of her visit there was one tourist for every three natives), she spends time among "fakaleiti, a strange third gender of half-men, half-women" who apparently fit right into Tongan society until the arrival of "American-style religious fundamentalism." Presto: thanks to the Mormons, Tongans now know that they're out of touch with the civilized world. Just so, in Beijing a doctor collars her into correcting an English phrasebook he's been writing, even though he doesn't know much English (sample phrase: "Is this the file you desired?" "Not that file, you retard"); the doctor's lack of sophistication, Forman writes, will cost him, for whereas by her account Chinese don't much care about the niceties of grammar, they do care about what it means to be an American, just as Tanzanian teenagers have made a near-Derridaean study of the collected works of Vanilla Ice. Forman writes breezily and pleasantly, though some of her set pieces go on too long and run out of steam. Her book,too, could have benefited from a more closely followed overarching theme of the kind that Franklin Foer worked so effectively in his globalism-dissecting How Soccer Explains the World (2004), which makes many of the same points. A mixed bag, then, of some interest to armchair travelers, if not to Weird Girls everywhere.
From the Publisher

“Award-winning journalist Forman is a world traveler married to Nick, a librarian struck by wanderlust. When Nick suggests a year of travel, Forman agrees, with some trepidation and conditions: they start at the beach, maintain their separate space, and spend long periods in one place. This is forman's story of their fascinating adventure: searching for Tolkienists in Kazakhstan; learning about the Lemba, the Jewish population in Africa; and exploring the subculture of the cross-dressing fakaleiti in Tonga. Throughout, Forman seeks out connections with those on the fringes of society, reveling in the relationships she is able to forge. Her husband, conversely, enjoys days in the bar and prefers North American society, causing some friction. Traveling together and separately, they fight and make up, learn how to deal with the new tensions this trip brings, and eventually return to New York City closer than before. All of this is packages in a personal, engrossing description of a year of adventure and education. Recommended for larger public libraries.” —Library Journal

“Gayle Forman is the kind of person you wish would sit next to you on an airplane: She knows how to tell a story, and more important, she knows how to listen. I love You Can't Get There from Here.” —Erik Torkells, Budget Travel

“This compulsively readable (self-professed) Weird Girl's round-the-shrinking-world travelogue is jam-packed with trenchant observations, drama, pathos, and humor. In countries as far-flung as Tonga and Kazakhstan, she befriends fellow outsiders: island shemales, mountain medievalists, street urchins, Bollywood extras, a tribe of African Jews, enterprising prostitutes. Although the world is shrinking, it's clearly still filled with wonders, and wherever Gayle Forman is going next, I want to read about it.” —Kate Christensen, author of In the Drink and The Epicure's Lament

“Gayle Forman has swallowed the world, whole, and come back to tell this often witty, sometimes poignant, always interesting tale.” —Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of Shutterbabe

“It's clear from Forman's travelogue that globalization isn't just about Starbucks' spreading from Boulder to Bangkok. It's also about the unexpected subcultures that form when worlds collide: Tanzanians who rap like Vanilla Ice, Tongan transvestites who take their cues from the Miss America pageant, an Anglo family in India competing for spots in Bollywood films. While Forman, a self-proclaimed "weird girl," discovers a common bond among outcasts worldwide, she also finds that her relationship with her globe-hopping companion--husband Nick--is falling apart. This is travel through a secret side door; lucky us, we get to go along.” —Lorraie Ali

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594865510
Publisher:
Rodale Press, Inc.
Publication date:
11/14/2006
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.93(d)

Meet the Author


Gayle Forman is an investigative journalist who's traveled the world to report for such publications as the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Glamour, Elle, Details, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, Jane, and Seventeen. She took her first overseas jaunt when she was seven-she brought her parents with her that time-and has been traveling ever since. Gayle and her husband, Nick Tucker, are back at home (for now) in New York City with their baby daughter, Willa.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews