It is always summer on the screens, there is always someone who publishes Instagram photograph of a Virgin Beach, from some forbidden city, somewhere amazing that, in the background, it looks like all the incredible sites that in the world there are. The trip has been enchanted for good, in the monetary sense, and also for evil: it has become an almost banal experience, in a tedious consumer habit. By his side, the venerated tradition of travel literature has also lost value. The Travel Writing Tribe is the title of a book of Tim Hannigan published in English at the end of 2021 that raises the gender crisis: who needs books like the time of gifts, the traces of the song or the silk route in THIS HYPERCONNECTED WORLD?
There is another idea, more belly, that arises in Hannigan's book: The Book of Travel not only responds to an obsolete need but reflects an anachronistic and rather suspicious attitude in 2022. First, because the great tourism business Mass has an environmental, cultural and political imprint difficult to underestimate. The trip and in solitude of Patrick Leigh Fermor may be seen from Rotterdam to Constantinople out the opposite of passing a bridge in Istanbul, but it is also likely that tourists from 2022 move them an image of the trip idealized by literature.
The second part of that criticism goes a little further. The theory, in short, says that the essence of the traditional travel book is that a white man, educated and probably with resolved life, comes out of Europe, reaches somewhere populated by primitive people and make their impressionist portrait, bienntened and condescending Carnation for a Woke world. The fall in disgrace of Ryszard Kapuscinski, a lovely traveler of the twentieth century to which the biographies of recent years are becoming a vain rogue, is a perfect example of that original sin.
"At a minimum, the label 'Travel Book' has been obsolete," explains Emilio Sánchez Mediavilla, book editor of the KO and author of a Dacha in the Gulf (Anagrama), chronicle of the years that happened in Baréin. "It was a brand that sold well, but at which the concept was diluted. I guess that has to do with the massing of the trip experience. It is very difficult now to make a story that is attractive because you have given a place that nobody knows. "
However, Sánchez Mediavilla holds, there are still books that have to do with the tradition of travel literature, who enlarge it, and who find their audience. The genre, who always had something about journalistic chronicle, adventure novel and scientific or historical disclosure book, has become, in 2022, at any of those things or at all at once, in whatever one Travel book "We publish the books of Ander Izagirre and they sell quite well. Interestingly, the one who sold worse was tired: six days on foot through the Apennines, which is a wonderful literature text and that is, of all his books, the one who looks like the classic idea of what a travel book is ».
"It's true, that book cost him more," he recalls the Izagirre himself. «But there are other books that work well and that are more or less travel books. It occurs to me to think of those of Xavier Aldekoa or in the Zigor Aldama ... The gender of the travel book has fallen a little in disgrace but, at the same time, it has evolved towards something else, towards a kind of chronicle in depth. And I think it's still necessary ». Like the erotic literature diluted and recycled into a new and uninhibited romantic literature, the travel book has become a book of journalism.
And guilt? "When I presented Potosí in Bolivia, there was the one who asked me what is a lack of a European one to tell that reality, if he believed there were no people in Bolivia who could do it. Well, I understand, I do not care about some privileges to come from where I come from. I know there are ways to travel that are a neocolonial thing ... but the desirable is not that I, European, can not tell the world that is not immediate to me. The desirable thing is that we all have access to the stories of the Bolivians themselves. " Izagirre argues that it is not a utopia. "There is no travel magazine that today publishes a Dakar dossier, for example, without having senegalese writers. That, a few years ago it was not happening. And the libraries begin to arrive chronicles of the trips that are made in the opposite direction, which make migrants in the Katera, for example. Sure, they are so powerful stories that they make us paid a little to others. "
Xavi Moret, author of recent in the shadow of Baobab and histories of Japan, belongs to a generation before that of Izagirre, Aldama and company. "Actually, that change was already in Bruce Chatwin's books. It does not make sense to describe the world, because there is already those who are retransmitting the world 24 hours. You have to pose the books with a previous idea, bet on a subjective look, talk to people. The key is not so much to see but listen, look in contact with the other and, through that contact, put yourself in question. "
The name of Chatwin leads us to look back, at the golden age of the genre at the end of the 20th century: What would happen if we read today the classic books of the canon of the trip? Would they bother us? «I guess some books would sound to us to the topic of high class English that goes around the world with a condescending look. But in the case of Chatwin, the memory I have is that the look of him was a very pure curiosity, a longing to understand the other for which I do not think there are many possible reproaches, "says Sánchez Mediavilla. "And it should not be easy not to be disdainful in 1980 with some of the realities he portrayed."
"The books of that time were very inspiring for me. I do not know how many screeching things we would meet today, but it does not seem right to demonize them for a few anachronisms. What moved them was a desire to open up to the world that does not look for me noble, "Izagirre ends.Date Of Update: 17 January 2022, 11:49