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Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer - Page 2

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer by Chuck Thompson is an exposé of the travel writing industry.  Thompson has been deeply involved in the travel writing industry and has had numerous experiences with editors not publishing his work because it was not flattering to the places he was visiting.

He presents some controversial positions – at times in hysterically funny ways, For instance, his stance on the Caribbean: “I find myself wondering why anyone – much less the 35 million people who go to the Caribbean each year – would blow presumably limited vacation days and budgets on a place where the definition of “paradise” is fluid enough to include sullen service, neglected hotels, and restaurants where waiting forty-five minutes for a small mango juice is considered an immense honor.”  Other popular places he thinks are overrated are Las Vegas, Florida, Graceland, and every Chinatown in any city. 


But don’t cast Thompson as a cynic about everything.  He has a number of favorite places too – Latin America, Canada, and the Philippines which he calls the “Friendliest country in the world.”  He thinks there is way too much fear about travel to Latin America. “No place needs a good PR agency more than Latin America,” he says. “For a region with so much going in its favor – food, scenery, the most hospitable locals on Earth – it has a worse reputation than the Florida Division of Elections.”

 

I mainly enjoyed the book, though I wished some details were left on the cutting room floor, such as what goes on in those sex clubs.  However, the book is entertaining and one of the first I have read that really goes after the travel writing establishment.

 

Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer, Chuck Thompson, Holt Paperbacks, Dec. 2007

 

©Christina Kay Bolton

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