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Far and Away : How Travel Can Change the World

A riveting collection of essays about places in dramatic transition.


Far and Away: How Travel Can Change the World, by Andrew Solomon. New York: Scribner, 2017. ISBN 9781476795058

From the winner of the National Book Award and the National Books Critics’ Circle Award — and one of the most original thinkers of our time — comes a riveting collection of essays about places in dramatic transition.

Far and Away collects Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts — political, cultural, and spiritual. From the barricades in Moscow in 1991 to the rubble of Afghanistan in 2002 to the cautious optimism of Myanmar in 2014, Andrew Solomon provides a unique view into some of the most crucial social transformations of the past quarter-century.

Encompassing South Africa and Brazil, China and Romania, Guatemala and the Solomon Islands, Solomon explores the unfolding of history, largely through the people who are creating and being shaped by it. He learns from former political prisoners, transgender bartenders, rape victims, shamans, and dogsled-drivers. He gets punched in the jaw in Taiwan, kidnapped in Ecuador, and left adrift in the Great Barrier Reef. He contemplates Antarctica from a dysfunctional ice-breaker and Mongolia from the back of a reindeer. He describes staring down tanks on the barricades in Moscow during the putsch that ended the Soviet Union, carousing all night in Kabul with local musicians free to play their instruments immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan, and being brought in for questioning in Qaddafi’s Libya.

Far and Away chronicles a life’s journey to the nexus of hope, courage, and uncertainty of lived experience, all while illuminating the development of the writer’s singular insight and empathy. These essays are rooted in intimate, deeply moving stories that reveal our common humanity.


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Praise for Far and Away:

“[FAR & AWAY] is greater than the sum of its parts. It sparkles with insights great and small on the countries and people that [Andrew Solomon] has had the privilege to meet over the last quarter century. Although his perceptions are keen, what he delivers best and with enchanting clarity are their truths, fears, regrets, and hopes. Readers will most certainly be inspired to book a flight, finishing this book en route to some faraway place.” — Booklist (starred)

“Agile, informative, even revelatory pieces that, together, show us both the great variety of humanity and the interior of a gifted writer’s heart.” — Kirkus (starred)

“Journalist and psychologist Solomon gamely plunges into global tragedies, hot spots, and cultural ferment. . . . Solomon’s writing captures the sweep of history and social upheaval through vivid, fine-grained reportage that’s raptly attuned to individual experience.” — Publishers Weekly

“Andrew Solomon’s magisterial Far and Away collects a quarter-century of soul-shaking essays.” — Vanity Fair

“Andrew Solomon is every bit as magnificent a traveler as he is a writer — in fact, it’s difficult at times to determine which is the greater talent. Thankfully, the reader gets to experience both gifts throughout the pages of this deeply impressive and profoundly moving collection. Here is man whose curiosities are vast (politics, art, food, psychology, anthropology), and whose intellect is beautifully honed, but whose spirit is humble and whose heart is enormous. You will not only know the world better after having seen it through Solomon’s eyes, you will also care about it more.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

“This is a beautiful book, inspired by love of ‘away’ and uncertainty about ‘home,’ a celebration of freedom which valuably warns that freedom must sometimes be learned. Much more than ‘travel writing,’ it’s a portrait of our world, made by someone who has been there.” — Salman Rushdie

“From Cape Town to Bucharest, and Hangzhou to Tripoli, Andrew Solomon’s Far and Away is positively Whitmanian in its openness to difficulty and its embodiment of wonder. I felt exposed and expanded. This book is an ecstatic provocation to understand ourselves not as citizens of nations but as citizens of the entire world, a world whose territories are glorious and troubled and desperately connected.” — Leslie Jamison

Scribner | ISBN 9781476795041 | April 19, 2016



Dutch: Verre ontmoetingen: reizen door een wereld in verandering
Translator: Chiel van Soelen en Pieter van der Veen, Josephine Ruitenberg, Kitty Pouwels. Amsterdam: Nieuw Amsterdam, 2016.

German: Weit und weg: Reisen durch sieben Kontinente
Translators: Gabriele Gockel, Bernhard Jendricke, Gerlinde Schermer-Rauwolf, and Barbara Steckhan. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag, 2018.

French: Les frémissements du monde: Reportages (1988-2017)
Translator: Christine Vivier. Paris: Fayard, 2020.

Portuguese (Brazil): Lugares distantes: Como viajar pode mudar o mundo
Translators: Donaldson M. Garschagen and Renata Guerra. Rio de Janeiro: Companhia das Letras, 2018.

Romanian: Undeva, departe : Calatorie pe meleagurile schimbarii. Sase continente si un sfert de veac
Translator: Miruna Fulgeanu. Bucharest: Librăriile Humanitas, 2018.

Spanish: La Desafiante Decadencia de la Joven Rusia (eBook of chapter, “Young Russia’s Defiant Decadence”)
Translator: Aurora Echevarría. Barcelona: Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial España, 2018.