Tour D — страница 2

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the finest, the most respectful reminder of all that exceeds us.” As one who makes their living from writing and travelling, I found this book frustrating. Anyone who has experienced the soulless nature of mass transportation and the glibness of guide books can understand and sympathise with what de Botton is saying. But nowhere among his themes do I see much evidence of any joy of discovery, any examination of what draws people to travel – the fear as much as the fun. There is no hungry soul behind his own quest for new shores, just a sense of intellectual guilt. Perhaps it’s a Francophone thing. De Botton makes much of the achievement of another French writer, Xavier de Maistre, who in 1790 wrote Journey Around My Bedroom . The conceit behind de Maistre’s work was the

idea that by revisiting a familiar scene (his bedroom) he rediscovers its charms with fresh eyes. It is a mode of travel, he said, that might be “particularly suited to the poor, those afraid of storms, robberies and high cliffs”. In de Botton’s view, de Maistre becomes distracted from his task and spends too long digressing on subjects such as his dog, his sweetheart and even his servant. De Botton’s verdict: “Travellers in search of a specific report on room-travel risk closing Journey Around My Bedroom feeling a little betrayed.” One might say the same about The Art of Travel . · Tim Ecott is the author of Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World (Penguin).