Authors: Jill Ker Conway
I knew I could manage my departure gracefully if no one came to see me off. Then there would be a predictable succession of
events, all helpfully practical. A farewell to my mother at the house, loading the luggage in the car of the friend who dropped me at the airport. A quick farewell at the curb. It was only if I had to be falsely jolly to a crowd of well-wishers that I might flub this rite of passage which was both a sentence and a release. I was so vehement in my requests to be left alone that all my friends stayed away, except for Nina, who must have waited hidden in the crowd, for she appeared, as if by magic, just as my flight was called, to thrust a tiny package and an envelope in my hand. She hugged me, uttering fervent wishes for a happy journey, and then she disappeared as quickly as she came.
As I walked out to the plane in the balmy air of a Sydney September night, my mind flew back to the dusty cemetery where my father was buried. Where, I wondered, would my bones come to rest? It pained me to think of them not fertilizing Australian soil. Then I comforted myself with the notion that wherever on the earth was my final resting place, my body would return to the restless red dust of the western plains. I could see how it would blow about and get in people’s eyes, and I was content with that.
My brother, Barry Innes Ker, has helped me as generously in preparing this narrative as he has through our lifetime of shared projects
The interpretations and any errors are entirely my own
The names of some persons and places have been changed
Jill Ker Conway was born in Hillston, New South Wales, Australia, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1958, and received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1969. From 1964 to 1975 she taught at the University of Toronto and was Vice President there before serving in 1975 and for the next ten years as President of Smith College. Since 1985 she has been a Visiting Scholar and Professor in M.I.T.’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and now lives with her husband in Milton, Massachusetts.
She is the author of
Merchants and Merinos
The Female Experience in 18th and 19th Century America
Women Reformers and American Culture
(1995), and editor of
Written by Herself, Volumes I and II
PECKED TO DEATH BY DUCKS
by Tim Cahill
In his latest grand tour of the earth’s remote, exotic, and dismal places, Tim Cahill sleeps with a grizzly bear, witnesses demonic possession in Bali, assesses the cuteness quotient of giant clams in the South Pacific, and survives a run-in with something called the Throne of Doom in Guatemala. The resulting travel pieces are at once vivid, nerve-wracking, and outrageously funny.
“Tim Cahill [has] the what-the-hell adventuresomeness of a T. E. Lawrence and the humor of a P. J. O’Rourke.”
Condé Nast Traveler
FALLING OFF THE MAP
SOME LONELY PLACES OF THE WORLD
by Pico Iyer
Pico Iyer voyages from the nostalgic elegance of Argentina to the raffish nonchalance of Australia, documents the cruising rites of Icelandic teenagers, gets interrogated by tipsy Cuban police, and attends a screening of Bhutan’s first feature film. Throughout, he remains both uncannily observant and hilarious.
“[Iyer is the] rightful heir to Jan Morris [and] Paul Theroux.… He writes the kind of lyrical, flowing prose that could make Des Moines sound beguiling.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
RIDING THE WHITE HORSE HOME
A WESTERN FAMILY ALBUM
by Teresa Jordan
The daughter and granddaughter of Wyoming ranchers tells the stories of her forebears—men who saw broken bones as professional credentials and women who coped with physical hardship and killing loneliness. She acquaints us with the lore and science of ranching, and does so with a breathtaking immediacy that recalls the best writing of Wallace Stegner and Gretel Ehrlich.
“A haunting and elegant memoir.”
—Terry Tempest Williams, author of
A JOURNEY THROUGH HISTORY
by Robert D. Kaplan
As Kaplan travels from the breakaway states of Yugoslavia to Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece, he reconstructs the Balkans’ history as a time warp in which ancient passions and hatreds are continually resurrected.
“Powerfully argued … the most insightful and timely work on the Balkans to date.”
A YEAR IN PROVENCE
by Peter Mayle
An “engaging, funny and richly appreciative” (
The New York Times Book Review)
account of an English couple’s first year living in Provence, settling in amid the enchanting gardens and equally festive bistros of their new home.
“Stylish, witty, delightfully readable.”
The Sunday Times
THE WRITINGS OF WOMEN TRAVELERS
Edited and with an Introduction by Mary Morris
In this delightful anthology, women such as Beryl Markham, Willa Cather, Annie Dillard, and Joan Didion share their experiences traveling throughout the world. From the Rocky Mountains to a Marrakech palace, these women show as much of themselves as they do of the strange and wonderful places they visit.
A Vintage Original/Travel/Women’s Studies/0-679-74030-9
HOLIDAYS IN HELL
by P.J. O’Rourke
P.J. O’Rourke travels to hellholes around the globe looking for trouble, the truth, and a good time. After casually sightseeing in war-torn Lebanon and being peppergassed in Korea, P.J. checks out the night life in Poland and spends Christmas vacation in El Salvador.
“Whether you agree with him or not … he writes a helluva piece.”
IRON & SILK
by Mark Salzman
The critically acclaimed and bestselling adventures of a young American martial arts master in China.
“Dazzling … exhilarating … a joy to read from beginning to end.”
RIGHT ON THE EDGE OF CRAZY
ON TOUR WITH THE U.S. DOWNHILL SKI TEAM
by Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson follows the underfunded, underreported athletes of the U.S. downhill ski team through a World Cup season that culminates at the 1992 Winter Olympics in France.
“The best [book] ever written about ski-racing.”
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