The Blind Masseuse
A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia
Finalist, Travel Book or Guide Award, North American Travel Journalists Association
Gold Medal for Travel Essays, Independent Publisher Book Awards
Gold Medal, Travel Essays, ForeWord's IndieFab Book of the Year
Winner, Memoir/Biography, Bisexual Book Award
Longlist of eight, PEN/Diamonstein Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
Finalist, Nonfiction, Housatonic Book Award
“Alden Jones is something of a ‘Prodigal Daughter,’ and she has come home from her long travels to tell us the stories from her own life and education. We both delight and learn from her wisdom and her tales of nine places in the world.”
Through personal journeys both interior and across the globe, Alden Jones investigates what motivates us to travel abroad in search of the unfamiliar.
By way of explorations to Costa Rica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, and around the world on a ship, Jones chronicles her experience as a young American traveler while pondering her role as an outsider in the cultures she temporarily inhabits. Her wanderlust fuels a strong, high-adventure story and, much in the vein of classic travel literature, Jones’s picaresque tale of personal evolution informs her own transitions, rites of passage, and understandings of her place as a citizen of the world. With sharp insight and stylish prose, Jones asks: Is there a right or wrong way to travel? The Blind Masseuse concludes that there is, but that it’s not always black and white.
“I discovered that I liked the blur in the photographs. I liked the haze. They made the images of Burma dreamy, surreal, which is how it was to me. I liked that the filter was the tourist’s shield. I could even say I’d done it on purpose: the work reflects the tourist’s view of Burma. The countryside looked easy and peaceful to us. Herders and workers lived their daily lives outside our fast-moving machine. What we saw and remembered did not reflect the true Burmese experience, lives lived suffering memories of torture, a sister raped, a son stolen. No. I saw willows.”
—excerpt from The Blind Masseuse
“It's smart and thoughtful, but also Jones is cackle-for-days hilarious and the book is a page-turner from second one, when she's out walking in the dark in her village and bumps into a cow. Please, everyone, read this book!”
“Readers arrive at a new place in each chapter and see it through Jones's eyes, allowing for insightful views of several places.”
“A thoughtful meditation on the conflicting roles of a traveler.”
“Unlike most travel memoirs, The Blind Masseuse is thoughtful and literate, leaving you with much to think about.”
—A Traveler's Library
“Wise, witty, and well traveled, Alden Jones has given us a beautifully written book that honors the wandering spirit in all of us. Take this journey with her and return newly alive to the pleasure of moving through the world.”
—Ana Menéndez, author of Adios, Happy Homeland!
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