Thought I would flag up* any interesting books that are travel related, either about traveling or a good holiday read. Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin sort of defies genre, but is mainly a memoir for a woman who’s probably too young to be writing a memoir.
A Flaneuse is a made up word really, a feminine version of a flaneur, which is a French idler, who wanders around cities exploring them on foot.Elkin, complains that women who wandered and owned the city have been written out of history. Given the constraints placed on women, particularly in the 19th century and before, they did not have the freedom to roam the cities. They could also not be ‘invisible’ as a woman out in public was, and is, highly noticable and a provocative act.
Elkin revisits periods in her own life when she lived in Paris, Tokyo, London, and Venice where she explored the cities on foot. But this is mixed with chapters on various female Flaneuse. There’s the war correspondant Martha Gellhorn who reported on the Spanish Civil War, or artist Sophie Calle who follows (stalks?) a guy from France to Venice and documents it for her art, or author Virginia Woolf who wrote articles on ‘street haunting’.
This book introduced me to some people I’d never heard of before, and made me wish I could speak French and lived abroad, and had had experiences…
*I say this a lot at work…and now in my blogs…if I get married I will incorporate it into my vows