A travel memoir about a man who doesn’t really enjoy travelling? The Excursionist is a darkly satirical novel for anyone who has the travel bug.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Excursionist for review. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.
Books about travel are pretty commonplace these days. But a novel about someone who travels widely even though they aren’t really suited to travel? That definitely sounded very intriguing!
The Excursionist is a fictional travel memoir of Jack Kaganagh, who aims to join the Travelers’ Century Club. Yes, that’s a real thing. Jack is travelling to Placentia, Kilrush and Fulgary to tick off the last three countries and territories required. And no, I hadn’t heard of them before reading this book either. Jack isn’t a great traveller, really, and his fiancee Kay used to handle all of the arrangements. But now Kay is gone and Jack is having to deal with everything, and everybody, himself.
Jack Kaganagh is awkward, gets thing wrong and misinterprets people often. He doesn’t really seem to like travelling or travellers very much. In fact, Jack only really seems concerned with ticking countries off his list as quickly as possible. But he’s also dealing with the death of his fiancee, and seems to be travelling to lose himself rather than find himself. It’s kind of an anti-Eat, Pray, Love thing.
As he reaches his 100th country, Jack also reaches a kind of resolution to his personal problems. It’s certainly a bitter-sweet resolution, but I think it was well handled.
The Excursionist is as much about the impossibility of running away from yourself, as it is about the actual locations. It’s funny, but in a dark and twisty way, which is exactly the kind of humour that I love! JD Sumner has a fantastic writing style, and a keen eye for detail which means that The Excursionist is a fascinating read. He is also very widely travelled, and has been to over 120 countries so far. Hopefully that means that he has a lot of inspiration for future novels, and I’d love to read an actual memoir of his own travels!
The anti-Eat Pray Love – A darkly satirical comic novel about travel, the need to visit as much of the planet as possible and the pressure to have meaningful experiences when you get there.
A brilliant book for anyone who loves to or wants to travel, The Excursionist is both a look at the drive to visit new places and a reminder that wherever you go you take yourself with you.
Newly single Jack Kaganagh longs to visit one hundred countries and the join the Travelers’ Century Club before his landmark birthday. There is just one problem: Jack’s enthusiasm for travel is matched only by his unsuitability to do so.
Travelling alone for the first time following the death of his partner, Kay, he flies to the Coronation Islands, fumbling around in dreamily faraway places in order to tick off his last three countries. He soon discovers that the more of the world he sees, the less he understands. A satirical, darkly comic novel, The Excursionist is about the entire travel experience and why we do it.
Darkly satirical, a perfect read for anyone who loves to travel: 7/10