Michelle de Kretser

 

Questions of Travel

 

Michelle de Kretser

Questions of Travel

Judges' notes

Two characters, two stories, each describing a different journey: Laura leaves home in Sydney to roam the world, travelling just because she can, looking for experience but always missing out on love; Ravi leaves home in Sri Lanka because he must, driven by fear for his life and haunted by his dead wife and child. Their paths eventually cross in Sydney, where they work for the same travel publishing company. Laura’s story is erratic and digressive, like her travels, while Ravi’s is taut with foreboding and danger.

The stories intertwine and pull against one another, and within this double narrative, Michelle de Kretser explores questions of home and away, travel and tourism, refugees and migrants, as well as ‘questions of travel’ in the virtual world, charting the rapid changes in electronic communication that mark our lives today. She brings these large questions close-up and personal with her witty and poignant observations, her vivid language. Commodified tourism and other aspects of contemporary life are satirised along the way, but the main focus is on Laura and Ravi, with their different kinds of courage in confronting loneliness and keeping their balance in a spinning, speeding world.