Travel the world – travel to the inhospitable (Book Review for TripFiction)
Travel the world – Atlas of Cursed Places by Olivier Le Carrer.
Who could resist such a beguiling title? Certainly not me.
Atlas of Cursed Places implores us to be courageous voyagers; throw caution to the wind and travel to the inhospitable. It gives the reader enough background information to make an informed choice, with plenty of warning signals. There’s a clear nautical theme, and it is no surprise that the author has sailed around the world, stopping at each cursed location. The atlas divides the world’s foreboding and hazardous locations neatly by geographic region, and each location description is complemented by GPS coordinates and a vintage map; allowing the intrepid to self-navigate to places of eternal doom.
Three types of curses are featured; mystical, paranormal and natural/climate. In featuring mystical and paranormal curses it serves as a good revival of memory, superstition and history. Many of the curses featured have not been documented and are no longer well known. Even in locations that I am quite familiar with, I discovered myths and facts previously unknown to me. This is a fun, albeit a bit frightful, way of exploring the horrible histories of places.
The real downside of this book is that in some cases it has factually inaccurate information, and this really detracts from the value it could bring. In addition to the glaring inaccuracies, the referencing of modern-day human suffering in places like Gaza, Haiti and Kenya as ‘cursed’ is disconcerting. Nevertheless, in spite of this, it does try to offer solutions and glimmers of redemptive hope for the inhabitants.
This is a great coffee table book for the home to entertain curious visitors with. It’s the kind of book that will have people competing over who has been to the most places, whilst simultaneously daring each other to visit the rest….
Rebecca for the TripFiction Team