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Translated from the French by Trude Fein. With an afterword by Gerald Froidevaux. This text is the result of an almost two-year journey that the Geneva writer and photographer Nicolas Bouvier undertook with the painter Thierry Vernet in 1953/54. The two friends drive a Fiat Topolino "at a very leisurely pace" across the Balkans, Turkey and Iran to Afghanistan. You will take your time to discover a cultural space that appears as archaic as it is surreal.
Review note on Neue Zürcher Zeitung, February 16, 2002
In 1953 the Swiss writer and journalist Nicolas Bouvier, then 24 years old, set out with the illustrator Thierry Vernet on a two-year trip in a "righteous" Fiat Topolino to Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. He published his experiences and impressions, portraits and character sketches for the first time in 1960, reports Georg Sütterlin. The reviewer finds these notes ironic, sympathetic, subtle and sometimes deliberately exaggerated. Bouvier's descriptions of Afghanistan in particular, whose inhabitants, climate and landscape had particularly impressed the adventurer, make the heart of the reviewer beat faster. In 1980 "Die Erlebnis der Welt" was published for the first time in German and has been re-edited for this edition. Sütterlin is annoyed by the obvious "blunders" in the transfer and it also seems incomprehensible to him that the publisher did not include Vernet's ink drawings in this edition, but instead printed less impressive photos by Bouvier. It's a shame, thinks the reviewer, because after all, this exciting journey was a joint venture, and so it would have made sense to publish the works of Bouvier and Vernet in one - as in all French editions, he criticizes angry reviewer.
Review note on Frankfurter Rundschau, 02/14/2002
Fascinated, Hans Martin Hennig discusses this travel report by Nicolas Bouvier, who in 1953 set out with the painter Thierry Vernet in a Fiat Topolino from Geneva to Afghanistan. The reviewer notes that in this report, different opposites cause each other and help each other to create a great dynamic. "Immediateness and memory" mix as well as foreign and personal, which the author completely rediscovered on his journey. In addition, there would be "slowness and momentum", which would give rhythm to traveling and writing. The reviewer is also more than in agreement with Bouvier's tone and style. His report was characterized by curiosity and open-mindedness, and yet there was no trace of senior teacher. In addition, Bouvier writes unobtrusively and with great stylistic skill, so that the reviewer comes to the following conclusion about the trip and the book: "What a comprehensive poetic draft, what a sadly difficult, what a necessary program."
Review note on Die Zeit, 11/15/2001
Traveling with little money, in an old car, from Europe to India, "exposed like a street dog and yet bursting with happiness" - this type of travel has gone out of fashion, says Stefan Weidner. The journalist Nicolas Bouvier, born in Geneva in 1929 and died in 1998, went on such a trip together with the painter Thierry Vernet, which also took him through Afghanistan in 1953. He has written down his travel experiences. In 1980, "Die Erlebnis der Welt" first appeared in German, has now been reissued and, according to the reviewer, more topical than ever. We know the Queta-Kandahar-Kabul route from reporting on the current war in Afghanistan, from Bouvier's perspective - perceived in a Fiat Topolino cruising at 30 km / h - it seemed to Weidner as if someone had enchanted the world here. The author has described his experiences without judgment or daring interpretations. For this reason alone, Weidner is certain, he will posthumously find many readers with this publication.
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