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Globe Corner

Sara Wheeler

Travels in a Thin Country

For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere, Chile is a far-away country. Sara Wheeler decided to get to know the country better. In this book she describes her journey from the one end of the country to the other (and on to Antarctica). On the way she visited some remote places with spectacular scenery, but the book isn't so much about geography, it's more about the stories of individual people living there, together with the history of the country, and in particular its path towards democracy. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to hear about the story of Chile and about life in some of the remotest areas of the world.

But there was one thing that was puzzing about the book. It is presented as the journey of a traveller who makes her way from one end of the country to the other and then writes a book about the experience. However, one always feels that there is more going on than a simple journey. Of course Wheeler doesn't just go directly from one end to the other, she makes sure her journey takes in places of interest to write about. But she seems to have too much influence in, for example, getting on a flight to Antarctica to fit in with the idea of an independent traveller making a fairly ad hoc journey. Maybe it shouldn't really detract from reading the book, but I always had the feeling in the back of my mind that I wasn't hearing the whole story.