Book Review: That Untravell’d World by Nicholas Dylan Ray

 

Stars: 2.5/5

Location: Turkey

Sub-genre: Travelogue

Publication date: 2019

This book chronicles seven trips that the author takes through Turkey. The first takes place in 1987, the last six in 2014-2016. The book is in the tradition of early travelogues, and based heavily off the journals that Ray writes during his travels. I liked the first journey quite a bit, the author young and enthusiastic, with broad sweeps of his travels and hopes. I found the later journeys were bogged down in details that don’t add much to the story—almost every morning, how he slept, in the evening, how he found his dinner or if he went out for drinks—moments that rarely told me much about Turkey or the bigger journey. Other parts had good background information and the author’s thoughts about Islam and the region. For someone who has never traveled to Turkey, I did learn a bit and am impressed by the diversity of ancient sites there that the author visited. Ray has an in-depth knowledge of the region and context for the places he visits (plus he knows Arabic and some Turkish) and he includes many quotes from the Qur’an and ancient poetry to supplement the day-to-day travels. I also loved the map and photos in the book, but I wish the author had taken me along on his journey more instead of just telling me the exact details of every day of his trips.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.