A review of Contact!

Wouldn't it be great if one of the world's best travel writers, after 60 years and fortysome books, went back through her work and notes and plucked out hundreds of haunting, revelatory, shimmering moments— brief encounters that "have been sparks of my work," she might say, "if often only in glimpses—a sighting through a window, a gentle snatch of sound, the touch of a hand . . . fleeting contacts [that] have fuelled my travels down the years, generated my motors, excited my laughter and summoned my sympathies."

Such a collection, you would think, might be astonishing in its range and prove, again and again, that the finest writing has to do with sharpness of eye and ear and enormity of heart. Even the tiniest stories, the briefest meetings, are crammed with meaning and emotion if seen from the right angle, yes?

 

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