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The New York Times Reviews ‘Far & Away’

Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change. New York: Scribner, April 2016.

by Joshua Hammer

Andrew Solomon is best known as the author of two ambitious books of nonfiction that explore human psychology and family relationships: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which won the National Book Award in 2001, and Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, the winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. But he has also roamed the globe for magazines ranging from Travel & Leisure to The New Yorker, casting his gaze on fragile societies in the midst of upheaval. In Far & Away, Solomon gathers nearly 30 travel pieces over three decades that reflect, he writes, “my lifelong fascination with… places in the throes of transformation.”

Solomon’s early articles focus on the changing art scene in countries recently freed from the grip of repression… [His] more recent reportage widens his scope to whole societies in transition… [H]is prose sparkles with insights and captivating description, whether he is observing camels in Mongolia (“When they lack water, their humps droop like aging bosoms. At night, they howl — an eerie sound, like the spirits of purgatory crying out”) … or eating his way through China. “The throbbing bass beat from the nightclub downstairs obtrudes,” he writes of a hedonistic night in Shanghai, “but not enough to diminish the lotus root stuffed with sticky rice or the tea-smoked duck, which is to waterfowl what Lapsang souchong is to Lipton.”

(To read the full review, please visit The New York Times.)