Reviews elsewhere on the web:
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.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 0349105847
Salesrank: 7816686
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 1995 Abacus
Marketplace:New from $33.72:Used from $0.74
Buy from Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 0349105847
Salesrank: 992414
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 1995 Abacus
Marketplace:New from £10.99:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback 1 pages  
ISBN: 0349105847
Salesrank: 1274380
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2004 Abacus
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 41.35:Used from CDN$ 1.14
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
Squeezed in between a vast ocean and the longest mountain range on earth, Chile is 2,600 miles long and never more than 110 miles wide - not a country which lends itself easily to maps. Nor, as Sara Wheeler found out, does it easily lend itself to a lone woman with two carpetbags who wishes to travel from the top to the bottom, from the driest desert in the world to the sepulchral wastes of Antarctica. Yet, despite bureaucratic, geographic and climatic setbacks, Sara Wheeler managed to complete that journey in six months, discovering en route a country that is quite extraordinarily diverse. This is an account of an odyssey which included Christmas Day spent with a llama sandwich on the Tropic of Capricorn at 13,000 feet, a sex hotel in the capital, four days wedged aboard a cargo boat, a wet tent and and high street bank in Patagonia. In Santiago she talked her way into the prisons, in Tierra del Fuego she hitched a lift around Cape Horn on a supply boat delivering a coffin, and in the high Andes she lived on a Vedic commune. From Easter in the slums to an eventful week on Robinson Crusoe Island, the author picks her way through the complex reality of South American Catholicism and the fragile peace of a newly-born democracy. She also drinks a lot of wine. This improbable ribbon of land has been home to Andean tribes who remain the most scientifically neglected people in the world; it has been conquered by conquistadores, pillaged by Sir Francis Drake (no hero in Chile), exploited by foreign imperialists, blighted by the Panama Canal, governed by the world's first democratically-elected Marxist president and stamped upon by one of this century's most reviled dictators. And, as Sara Wheeler discovered, they have all left their mark on today's Chile - an extravagantly complex country, hidden behind the Andes and stretching to the end of the world. Other work by the author includes "An Island Apart".