On Reading The Place

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A lot of travel books–especially those written with the guidebook in mind–are just boring. They talk in matter of fact tones about sightseeing, the best restaurants, the can’t-miss art installations. People write chattily, wanting to give you the impression both of their expertise and -approach-ability. And the spirit of the place falls between the cracks in the words.

“Prague, I See A City” is so far from those books, it’s in an entirely different world. A world where ghosts haunt Prague around ever corner. Where the writer muses on her walks through the city, on the meaning and metaphor in what she sees, on the depth and layers of the city.

I’ve found that Prague books fall into two categories: those which take place in the city, and those which take place in Prague. The books that take place in Prague are filled with alienation, with doubt, with astonishing hidden depths behind the seemingly innocuous. Ever panorama has a history, every building its haunting, each street its winding and terrible tale.

“Prague, I See A City” guides the strange through those streets, in the only way that matters: the way that looks beyond the easy, the obvious, the tourist and the traveler. It brings you as close as any book ever written in English to the city on the Vltava. If you want to know Prague, this is the only book to read.

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