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Stranger in the Forest

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited May 24, 2017 10:18AM) (new)

Tomorrow we conclude the "White men walking across foreign countries" portion of our reading. From there we'll move on to a memoir by a Saudi woman and then international fiction through the rest of the year.

Still, I look forward to talking about Hansen's time in Borneo. I knew very little about the country and was eager to get his take. Just earlier this week, the Chief Minister of Borneo urged the locals to write more. As it is, there's very, very little literature that's available from local writers. Unfortunately, to read about Borneo means to use a Western author as a surrogate.

Given Borneo's unique geopolitical position as a mostly rugged island shared by Malaysia and Indonesia, it lacks its own capital city for the island. Kuching, which Hansen visits a few times, is the city's largest city and capital of the Malaysian side. Although Hansen's account is thirty-five years old, he didn't see much that would lead one to believe there is a thriving arts community.

Regardless, I hope we have much to talk about tomorrow, even if it's scolding me for choosing titles that exoticize island nations by stubborn Americans.

message 2: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments Travis, you took the scold right out of me! I really appreciate your above comments, and think I (we?) might have enjoyed this book more had it not followed Theroux. Maybe just mix the schedule up a bit more next year?

message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne | 85 comments Not gonna lie: read two pages and was like yeah...can't do this when I still haven't finished Dark Star Safari. I'm still coming tonight because...why not?!

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Fully mea culpa with putting this and Dark Star Safari back-to-back. I really wasn't thinking. At the very least, we can compare and contrast the difference between Hansen's deferential take on his travels versus' Theroux's more critical eye. I can only imagine ol' Paul doing the same travel: "There in the jungle I met two insufferable, sanctimonious Christians who abused their roles as pilots and providers to cram processed food and gegaws down the throats of the natives who have no use for them. Would providence only be so gracious as to commit their self-righteous bodies to the jungle, where its blind and unfeeling elemental forces would reduce their bodies to only the most basic of nutrients. Truly, they deserve nothing more."

message 6: by Lucy (new)

Lucy (lucy47) | 146 comments An impressive facsimile of Theroux' voice! But I think there are strong similarities between his and Hansen's views of Christianity and the Western world, which I hope we'll get to discuss tonite. Are Kim and/or Vera coming?

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I spoke to Vera a few weeks ago and she indicated she was coming. She had finished the book and took a far dimmer view of Hansen than I did. I haven't heard from Kim either way.

message 8: by Readridinghood (new)

Readridinghood | 54 comments Hi Everyone! I did a better job of audio reading with this book. I am proud to say I have finished it with hours to spare! I haven't done this in a long time. I liked this one. I found the writing to be picturesque. As food was described, I was either Curious, to know how it tasted, or grossed at the thought that anyone would eat such an animal. Nothing comes to mind at the moment.
With tales of misfortune to lone travelers, I think Eric Hansen was super lucky that nothing bad really happened to him. Unless I missed something. I liked the almost relationship Eric had with Cynthia. That was almost unbelievable that he would spend all that time drinking alone with this woman, had his chance and when she kissed him, he just walked away! According to her letter much later, it was a good thing he did. The dogs attacking Eric and the other men was something. I can't remember the other traveler's name, but I'm glad he didn't die. The The narrator for the book did a good job he kept me interested. Now that I finished the book, I need to go back and look at things I may have missed or that I want to talk about tonight. Again, I really like this book. A friend blessed me with a large veggie tray. I am bringing it to share tonight!

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