In 1991 Andrew Solomon faced down tanks in Moscow with a band of Russian artists protesting the August coup. We find him on the quest for a rare bird in Zambia in 1998, and in Greenland in 2001 researching widespread depression among the Inuit. In 2002 he was in Afghanistan for the fall of the Taliban. He was brought in for questioning in Qaddafi’s Libya in 2006. In 2014 he travelled to Myanmar to meet ex-political prisoners as the country fitfully pushed towards freedom. Far and Away tells these and many other stories. With his signature compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities shift when governments change.
A journalist and essayist of remarkable perception and prescience, Solomon chronicles a life’s travels to the nexus of hope, courage, and the uncertainty of lived experience and tracks seismic shifts – cultural, political and spiritual. He takes us on a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences via intimate, deeply moving stories that reveal and revel in our common humanity.
His voice and eye are always curious, never hurried; his sentences unspool elegantly, and are sharply alive to social cadences and cultural nuance... You can see him exploring and honing the listening habits that led to that book on almost every page here... Solomon lives with his subjects as long as he is able – searching out the dissident artists of China and the Inuit of Greenland, 80% of whom suffer from depression. In this way Solomon builds a picture of the world we have inhabited in the last 25 years, seen from its four corners.
Solomon unites human history around the world through his intimate, personal accounts.
He is an engaging guide – keen-eyed, self-reflective, shrewd, humane – and these articles have a pleasing passion.
Andrew Solomon is every bit as magnificent a traveler as he is a writer - in fact, it's difficult at times to determine which is the greater talent. Thankfully, the reader gets to experience both gifts throughout the pages of this deeply impressive and profoundly moving collection. Here is man whose curiosities are vast (politics, art, food, psychology, anthropology), and whose intellect is beautifully honed, but whose spirit is humble and whose heart is enormous. You will not only know the world better after having seen it through Solomon's eyes, you will also care about it more.
This is a beautiful book, inspired by love of ‘away' and uncertainty about ‘home,' a celebration of freedom which valuably warns that freedom must sometimes be learned. Much more than 'travel writing,' it's a portrait of our world, made by someone who has been there.