Sunday, 28 September 2008

Nomad's Hotel by Cees Noteboom

A collection of travel writing spanning several decades and the exotic and familiar. Noteboom is fascinated by the effect of travel on the experience of time; the evocation of the past, the slowing or quickening of the present depending on the pace of the location. He also reflects on the function of memory, of travel as both maker and destroyer of memories. The idea of a museum as a collection of memories is an enchanting one. He also imbues material objects - statues, buildings, a wastepaper basket - with personality and emotional resonance, but does so with self-awareness, knowing that "we ourselves are the only source of meaning, at least on this little beach of the universe. These inscriptions that we insist on finding on every stone, every sand-grain, are in our own hand". This quote is from Tim Robinson's Stones of Aran, now on my list of books to read. Nomad's Hotel was a wonderful companion during a journey, a prompt for reflection on how my journey was changing me.

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