Traveling with the Graham family—dispatches from Lisbon
The Chicago Tribune‘s cultural critic Julia Keller has yet another quotable review of a great new title from the University of Chicago Press. This time Keller offers an insightful critique of Philip Graham’s new travel memoir documenting his year-long sojourn in Portugal with his family in The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon. Originally published as a series of dispatches that first appeared on the McSweeney’s website as “Philip Graham Spends a Year in Lisbon,” his new book is an expanded version of those essays that, as Keller writes, offers readers “the chance to travel alongside the Graham family as they explore a city, a language, a culture and, of course, themselves.” Keller’s review begins:
Ask me to peruse your vacation snapshots and I’ll probably do so, but reluctantly, and not without an inward wince.
Ask me to listen to your vacation stories—or better yet, to read them—and I’ll happily oblige.
Photos are simple and static and crudely bullying; they force you to see things from a single, inert perspective. Stories, though, are complex, supple and surprising. That’s why The Moon, Come to Earth: Dispatches from Lisbon is so enchanting: It dances and sighs. It twitches and hums and stumbles and then rights itself, with a winsome smile. It’s like a living thing, filled with desire and uncertainty and joy and regret.