American journalist Alice Steinbach took a year off to live in four cities - Paris, Venice, London and Oxford - when she realized she had entered a new phase of life. Her sons had graduated from college; she had been divorced for a long time; she was a successful journalist. While there was nothing really wrong with her life, she felt restless. ...Read MoreAmerican journalist Alice Steinbach took a year off to live in four cities - Paris, Venice, London and Oxford - when she realized she had entered a new phase of life. Her sons had graduated from college; she had been divorced for a long time; she was a successful journalist. While there was nothing really wrong with her life, she felt restless. Could she live independently of her family, her friends, her career? Steinbach searches for the answer to this provocative question firstly in Paris, where she finds a soul mate in a Japanese man; in Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to marry, and in the evocative cities of Oxford and Venice. Her trip is peppered with accounts of the exotic strangers she meets, her reflections on life and the observational postcards she wrote to herself during her year away. Colourful, inspiring and beautifully told, "Without Reservations" will take the reader on a unique voyage of discovery into a woman's life, as she evolves a new one.Read Less
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I loved this book....it really gave me the travel bug!
Jul 11, 2007
This is one of those books that I pull out when I'm ready to take a long soak in the tub..something I love coming back to again and again. Steinbach's method of travel is one I can absolutely relate to, although I don't have a career or family...just school! Describing her flight to Europe for a long stay, she writes about her initial excitement and then the sudden "What am I doing on this plane?" moment. Exactly my thoughts when I went on my first long-term trip! It's about accepting - not, for me, overcoming - that what-do-I-think-I'm-doing moment and moving on, observing and discovering... Steinbach's observations are witty and sometimes wistful. She's content, I feel, to stay one step removed from the places she visits, maybe a legacy from her career in journalism. It's something again I relate to - when travelling, I'm more content being anonymous in a café, watching people go by, than inserting myself in the life of the place. Of course that's what I felt, reading it.... A book I very much enjoyed that illustrates the enormous satisfaction and self-growth one can find through travel.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-04-03 In a travel-book-cum-memoir set against a glamorous background of European cities, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Steinbach describes the months she spent traveling after she took a sabbatical from her job as columnist for the Baltimore Sun. For Steinbach, traveling is an exercise in reconnecting with a more independent and uninhibited side of her personality. Her not-quite-spontaneous adventure begins in Paris, where she finds a kindred spirit in a worldly Japanese businessman. From there she heads off to Oxford, where she takes a course in English village life, and on to Milan, where she meets the most charming of her fellow travelers, a young American girl soon to be married. The obstacles Steinbach faces on her journeys seem minor--overcoming a fear of ballroom dancing in Oxford and putting aside the habit of always doing "at least two things at once." Only in Milan, when she was nearly mugged, does Steinbach experience anything harrowing. Though the descriptions of each locale are thin, they are not really the purpose of this memoir; rather, the author's intent is to connect emotionally with each city and to learn "to take chances. To have adventures [and] to see if I could still hack it on my own, away from the security of work, friends and an established identity." Supplying more finely observed details might have made this a richer book, but the writing is generally optimistic, warm and genuine in a Chicken-Soup-for-Travelers kind of way. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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