Book Review: Here, There, Elsewhere, by William Least Heat-Moon
Although I’m not a man, I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that this collection of road vignettes is a manly book. I picture someone reading it before a crackling fire, surrounded by a pipe, slippers, and a resting dog.
Even as a youth, William Least Heat-Moon knew that he was a born traveler. He didn’t just go to exotic places. He drove to places in the United States that appealed to him for one reason or another, such as his homage trip to the home town of William Faulkner [see excerpt below]. The stories aren’t mere travelogs. Mr. Heat-Moon covered history, topology, weather patterns, and local townsfolk, immersing himself in all of his locales. He drove, walked, hiked, observed, and wrote, entertaining his readers just by being himself — interested, descriptive, humorous, and thoughtful. Here is just one sample paragraph from this unique book:
“We rolled on through the pines and rusted soil, past washed-out cotton fields and eroded hill farms, Franklin’s commentary flowing almost without pause. Once the afternoon heat came on good, he wound us into a copse to a worn cabin, its paint sun-bleached here, peeled to bare wood there. In a metal lawn chair sat a man, grandly bellied, in bib overalls; he was about seventy years old. Franklin said to us, ‘Come meet Walter Miller. We call him Uncle Buddy.'”
— excerpt from A Little Tour in Yoknapatawpha County (2013)
I hope that the author and the publisher will forgive me for stealing a paragraph that is meant to introduce the prospective reader to this wonderful collection of road trip shorts. I hope I’ve enticed you.