Ensiform's Reviews > Where the Tigers Were: Travels Through Literary Landscapes

Where the Tigers Were by Don Meredith
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's review
Dec 21, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, travel
Read in August, 2001

The author describes his travels in several countries --- Wales, Egypt, the Middle East, Italy, Tanzania --- in the footsteps of literary figures who wrote about them. A good idea, poorly executed. Though some of the pieces are satisfactory, most are downright boring; none is an example of entertaining, evocative, or informative travel writing.

Meredith fails to explain some of the books he speaks of, so the reader is left with no referents of his own, and peppers his chapters with seemingly random quotes from the works that reveal nothing about their context, or the places to which they refer. Meredith shows his lack of cohesion even in the title of his book: it comes from Mann’s Death In Venice, but refers to a place other than Venice! At one place, a mob in Vietnam grows angry over Meredith’s presence, but he has no interest in explaining why; the reader never gets any sense of the people or the culture of the places, just a dry recital of having found places mentioned in books. What would Graham Greene think of modern day Vietnam, he muses at the end of one piece; from this book, no reader could guess at the answer, because Meredith is a totally uninspiring guide. Chalk finishing this one up to pure obstinacy.
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