Friday, 1 March 2013

The Longest Way Home

Title: The Longest Way Home

Author: Andrew McCarthy

Number of pages: 288

Started: 20 February 2013

Finished: 1 March 2013

Opening words:

“Are you awake?” Something in the tone of the voice cut through to my sleeping brain.
“Coming,” I called back.
“What time is it? D murmured.
“Four fifteen.  We’re late.”  The night was still black.  The canvas flapped in a dry breeze.  I grabbed our bags, pulled at the zipper, and we were out.  We slashed along a path through the dry bush lit by a waning moon, loaded into the jeep, and were gone in minutes.  Occasionally at the edges of the beam of light cast by the single working headlamp, a pair of shining red eyes was briefly lit in the darkness.  We bounced on over the dirt track and after half an hour we came to a locked gate.  From somewhere in the night a man appeared and opened it, and we drove into the Chitengo compound.  A few limp fluorescent lights lit the area.  A small young man grabbed our bags and threw them into the back of a decrepit minivan – the kind that are the lifeblood of Africa.  He jumped behind the wheel; we climbed into the backseat.

Plot summary:

Andrew McCarthy explores the tumultuous, complicated, and circuitous route he's travelled to finally settle down with one woman, whom he married last August. Telling this story through the lens of a series of seven exotic trips he's recently taken all over the world (Patagonia, the Amazon, Costa Rica, Baltimore, Vienna, Kilimanjaro, Galway), he'll write about his wanderlust-and other lusts-and connect his obsession with travel with his phobia of commitment. The story will culminate with one of the most momentous-and terrifying-days of his life: his wedding day. A thoughtfully observant writer, McCarthy touches on his personal life, his acting career, and his fascination with travel in a truly captivating manner. Genuine and spirited, The Longest Way Home is the fascinating story of how one man's insight into his relationships with both the people closest to him and the places very new to him allowed him to fully commit to another person.

What I thought:

In my youth, I was a big fan of Andrew McCarthy.  I was therefore really pleased to see that he had written a book.  It sort of falls into the biography genre, but is not a retelling of his Brat Pack days or stardom.  Instead, it primarily focusses around his world travels and his relationship with his partner – where these two things came together and where they diverged. 

I found the book very readable and I liked his reflections on the past and the present.  In many ways, it was quite a gentle book, but it was also quite insightful.

This is not a book about glitz and glamour, but is instead about facing our demons and finding our place in the world.  A good book.

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