Travels In A Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile, by Sara Wheeler
While Sara Wheeler in her book consistently shows herself to be a nontraditional and feminist leftist, the book is nonetheless entertaining because of its wit and verve. This book, though somewhat dated by its early-1990’s references and somewhat marred by its anti-American attitude, manages to provide an intriguing look both at Chilean society and its tortured recent political history (namely the Pinochet dictatorship) and a humorous and self-effacing look at its hapless author and narrator, who suffers disaster after disaster in her attempts to see the entirety of Chile from top to bottom, including an excursion to Chilean Antarctica. In fact, the book was a somewhat funny read of Sara being compared to royals by every Chilean she meets, trying to find male company that respects her, and enjoying both the high life (exclusive trips to observatories, wealthy haciendas, and presidential homes) and the low life (sleeping on the beach, getting scabies, spending time in Santiago’s slums) during her travels. One gets the feeling that the author would not be enjoyable at a dinner party, but she certainly writes a funny and insightful book that unfortunately demonstrates how little Chile is thought of by most of the outside world. Both her and I share a bittersweet appreciation of Chile, though, and that is enough to make her travelogue a worthwhile and enjoyable read, despite our many differences.