Friday, February 17, 2017

Book review: "Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations" by Olivier Le Carrer

You know how people talk about having "wanderlust"? These places will fix that.
Or how people have bucket lists for places they want to travel? This is the opposite of that.

In this lovely formatted, pleasure to hold in your hands type of book, Mr Le Carrer takes us to places all around the world that we would only want to visit from the comfort of our living rooms.  Some places we can't visit anymore like:

- The ancient city of Carthage where pits have been discovered that contain "twenty thousand funerary urns, mostly of young children". Children offered as human sacrifices.

-The Sundra Strait, which is still there, but it looks different then it did in 1883 when a massive volcanic eruption killed tens of thousands of people and created "the tsunami that lapped the planet three times over".

There are places that you absolutely can still visit like (but you shouldn't):

- The Bermuda Triangle, which I feel like I don't even need to describe because you know the stories

- The city of Nuremburg where Hitler had grand plans for his 1000 year Reich. (Though in a moment of "oh hell yes! Take that you bastard Nazis" the building that used to house the SS barracks now houses the High Commission of Refugees.)

-Or the place in far, far, far northern Russia where there's a whole bunch of nuclear submarines, still with their payloads bobbing and rusting and decaying in the cold waters. Do you trust that none of them are leaking? I don't. I think Russia's got some 3 eyeballed fish, a la the Simpsons up there.

Not only was this a beautiful looking book, the writing was elegant and kind of lovely considering the ocassionally gruesome subject matter. The short chapters made it easy, fast reading and a good book that you could pick up and set down on busy days. This was right up my weirdo alley and I wish there were 15 more books just like this. 4 out of 5 stars.


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