Thoroughly entertaining and chock full of tidbits and factoids, thick enough to keep one busy for at least a full week Narrative revolves around Frater s desire to bring a mission bell to the island where he was born, and the church his grandfather founded on Iririki In between his journey to England and back to the prestigious bell makers of Whitechapel, he throws in history and episodes from adventures over the years in equatorial lands, with all their incongruities and idiosyncrasies Comparable to the book Pacific, however, with attention to local color than just the historical narrative. An exceptional travelogue memoir. One Of The Most Celebrated Travel Writers At Work Today A Vibrantly Observant, Witty, Utterly Captivating Account Of A Lifetime S Worth Of Travel Between The Tropics Of Cancer And CapricornPart Memoir, Part Travelogue, All Passionate Appreciation, Tales From The Torrid Zone Begins In Iririki, Alexander Frater S Birthplace On This Tiny Island In The South Seas Republic Of Vanuatu, His Grandfather, A Presbyterian Missionary From Scotland, Converted The Inhabitants, His Father Ran The Hospital And His Mother Built Its First Schoolhouse In Their Front [ read Online Tales from the Torrid Zone: Travels in the Deep Tropics ä read-for-college PDF ] by Alexander Frater Æ Garden And It Was On Iririki Where, On The Eve Of His Sixth Birthday, Frater Fell Victim To Le Coup De Bambooa Mild Form Of Tropical Madness For Which, Luckily, There Is No Cure, And Which Has Compelled Him, Again And Again, To Return To The Seeding, Breeding, Buzzing, Barking, Fluttering, Squawking, Germinating, Growing Deep Tropics His Travels Take Him To Nearly All Of The Eighty Eight Countries Encompassed By This Remarkable, Steamy Swath Of The World He Delves Deeply Into The History And Politics Of Each Nation He Visits, And Into The Lives Of The Inhabitants, And Of The Flora And Fauna He Is, At Once, Tourist, Explorer And Adventurer, As Fascinated With And Fascinating About The Quotidian As He Is With The Extraordinary But Certainly, He Does Not Lack For The Extraordinary Dining With The Queen Of Tonga In A Leper Colony Making His Way Across Tropical Africa And Two Civil Wars In A Forty Four Year Old Flying Boat Delivering A New Church Bell To A Remote Oceanian Island From Fiji To Laos, Mexico To Peru, Senegal To Uganda, Taiwan To Indonesia, Frater Gives Us A Richly Described, Wonderfully Anecdotal, Endlessly Surprising Picture Of This Diverse, Feverish, Languorously Beautiful World As Much A State Of Mind As It Is A Geographical Phenomenon People who travel a lot, or dream about being able to, will enjoy this book The only bone I have to pick with it is the way the author will be describing an event or place and get reminded of another event or place and go off on a tangent to tell about that and then suddenly you are back in the original story, without clear demarcation between the two Eventually I just gave in to it and let it swirl me around, a most pleasurable experience. ð Tales from the Torrid Zone: Travels in the Deep Tropics ☆ A celebrated author and travel writer whose colleagues include Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux, Frater has a large list of publications under his belt in both magazine and novel form This book is a collection of stories which is equal parts narrative, non fiction, and memoir Frater grew up in the tropics and lived there for the duration of his childhood, until he left as a young adult for further education He has subsequently traveled the world over many decades and has amassed innumerable stories, tales, and memories, some of which are retold here As the title suggests, this book focuses on those countries which exist in the Torrid Zone and begins with some of Frater s early memories while a child While the novel as a whole is quite interesting, with a plethora of assorted tales of countries both known and unknown and a varied I must admit that despite being a big fan of travel writing I had never heard of Alexander Frater When my husband bought his book, Tales from the Torrid Zone, 2nd hand for me I didn t know what to expect but feeling like a change after reading about the Arab world, I decided to try it The Tropics are fascinating and it seems that Frater is perfectly placed to write about them because he was born in Iririki, Vanuatu and spent his journalistic life travelling to and writing about the tropics. Frater obviously did a lot of research and reading of history and sprinkles the text with facts and vignettes However, I don t really enjoy his writing style because of his strange lack of punctuation but I persisted anyway because there are occasional vignettes that make it worthwhile As Sara Wheeler from the Guardian said At 388 pages, the book c Wonderful book, poetic and reminiscent Has the dreamy quality of the tropical subjects of its pages Small remembrances interspersed with a gossamer thread of narrative that brings the author back over and over to the original torrid place that started his fever for equatorial zones Vanuatu Grandson of a Scottish Presbyterian minister who was the first Frater to travel into the deep tropics, and son to parents that set up both hospitals and schools there, Alexander retraces his family s roots in the region Surprisingly to the author, the locals still remember his missionary grandfather with great fondness and gratitude, though the still running church is in need of a new bell. So begins the adventure of procuring one from the very old and historical White Chapel Bell Foundry that made the famous Liberty Bell amongst others Westminster, Canterbury, etc an This is a mix of travel narrative and memoir Frater was born in the south Pacific into a family of missionaries and physicians He has spent a lot of time in the tropics, working as a writer and on documentary films As he narrates, an event will elicit memories from other places and he lapses into anecdotes from there His wiritng style is very lush, with complex sentence structure This makes it hard to speed read, but I suppose gives a sense of the tropics, which Frater stresses is sloooow Although not my favorite, I did enjoy this unusal narrative, and it does give a strong sense of place.
Alexander Frater was born in Vanuatu and lived there and on other tropical islands until he left to study in Australia His childhood memories of the places and people are told with fond nostalgia, although most of the book is concerned with visits and travels he made later in life to many tropical countries, making the book a mixture of travel literature and memoir. There are plenty of facts, about the climate, geology, history, individuals, tropical medicine, living conditions, etc of the places he visits, but this is not a dry book The author has a love for this part of the world which gives his writing a warmth. When the book arrived in the mail months ago, I skimmed through it, thinking hmmm looks like it might be kinda dull and put it aside I was wrong There was potential for a real dragged out story, had Frater confined himself to Vanuatu the South Seas nation where he was born and raised his father and grandfather were missionaries there However, he does fully succeed in tying in his experiences in other Torrid locations Africa, Burma, etc along the way such that the parts make the intended whole When this book is good it s fascinating, and when it s not quite up there, it s at least interesting Highly recommended.
About The Author
Alexander Frater has contributed to various UK publications Miles Kington called him the funniest man who wrote for Punch since the war and been a contracted New Yorker writer as chief travel correspondent of the London Observer he won an unprecedented number of British Press Travel Awards Two of his books, Beyond the Blue Horizon and Chasing the Monsoon, have been been into major BBC televi