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The Way of the World by Nicolas Bouvier

The Way of the World

Best Seller
The Way of the World by Nicolas Bouvier
Paperback $18.95
Oct 27, 2009 | ISBN 9781590173220

Also available from:

  • Oct 27, 2009 | ISBN 9781590173220

    Also available from:

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“A genuine masterpiece, an exhilarating, innocent, perceptive and wholly enjoyable young man’s travel book, and a discovery of the Asian road that by rights deserves to occupy the same shelf as great classics of the genre such as Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana or Eric Newby’s Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.” —The Financial Times

The exhilaration of the open road and the feeling of connectedness to the natural world that it can produce, is, after all, a common human experience. Simply expressed, it has produced some of mankind’s greatest writing. The Swiss travel writer Nicolas Bouvier explores this territory in his youthful masterpiece, The Way of the World, where he conveys as well as anyone the raw intoxication of being on the road.” —The New York Times

The Way of the World is a masterpiece which elevates the mundane to the memorable and captures the thrill of two passionate and curious young men discovering both the world and themselves. Racy and meditative, romantic and realistic, the book is as brilliant as Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts, but with its erudition more lightly worn and as alive as Kerouac’s On the Road, though without a whisper of self-aggrandisement…On every page a gem or two glitters, and the accumulation of colour, detail and inspired metaphor produce an intensely hypnotic effect…If you read any travel book this year–or indeed the next forty years–this should be it.”  –Rory Maclean, The Guardian (UK)

“Bouvier has all the gifts a travel writer could want–curiosity, tolerance, hardiness–but above all he has a poet’s sensibility with words. His is a lyrical style that is as pure as spring air.” –James Owen, Telegraph (UK) 

“…it’s about a journey in the 1950s from Belgrade to India. They try to go to India in a tiny battered Fiat and it takes them several years, these friends, and it probably describes the attraction of travel better than any book I’ve ever read.” –Roy Moxam

“Bouvier wrote only a handful of books, but this relatively small production has attained classic status in Europe…His prose is at once musical and remarkably factual, while the odd detail always seems captured with the deftness of a haiku poet. His gift for summing up significant experiences often rivals Thoreau’s.” —Paths to Contemporary French Literature


“A classic on the Continent; [Bouvier’s] youthful masterpiece…has something close to biblical status for the current generation of French travel writers….Like Lévi-Strauss, like Chatwin, like Sebald even, his writing binds elements of autobiography and travelogue, history and literature. Yet Nicolas Bouvier remains his own man; he is the minimalist of modern travel writing.” –Ben Hutchinson, Guardian (UK)


“An exquisitely vivid and accurate translation.” —Paths to Contemporary French Literature


“It is difficult to isolate the best moments of [The Way of the World]. Bouvier is a colourist and a miniaturist of the highest order.” —Le Monde


“Bouvier alerts the reader to the transcendant dimensions of travel.” –Jasion Elliot


“…like a meteor which comes to light up our atmosphere.” –André Rollin


“In the tradition of great travel writing it is beautifully written and works on many levels – being an account of the journey, a meditation on life and an appreciation of the spirit of a place.” –Sarah Anderson, founder of the Travel Bookshop, in The Guardian

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