Questions of travel

The whole way through this long (oh by gosh it is especially, tediously long!) novel The Questions of Travel, I did not have questions of travel, I just had the one question “why am I reading this?”

Firstly I LOVE to travel. I thought that this award winning book would be a delight. I was tremendously disappointed. The novel does banter about the questions that are raised by travel, the tourism industry, business travel, recreational travel, migration and asylum, and the transience of the moving populace. The subjects however are handled in a rather cold, perfunctory, heartless and just seemingly pointless manner.

Laura is an ordinary Australian, trying to escape her mundane life by travelling.

Ravi is a Sri Lankan trying to escape atrocities committed in his motherland and attempting to find asylum in a new life in Australia.

The tale of these two characters unravels in alternating chapters. The two characters come from two different beginnings. Midway through the book, Laura and Ravi find themselves working at the same travel guide company. Finally, their stories join briefly towards the end of the book.

Questions of travel won the Miles Franklin Award in 2013 and the Prime Minister’s Prize for fiction. According to the Miles Franklin Award website it is “an extraordinary work of imagination – a transformative, very funny and intensely moving novel”. Sadly I was not moved. I was unable to care in the slightest about either character or what happened to them. Funny? I ask myself…..really….funny? Well I didn’t laugh or even remotely chuckle once. I was so relieved to read the last page but I just wonder why oh why I bothered. Sadly, Questions of travel gets a big thumbs down from me.