Part memoir, part travelogue, Tales From the Torrid Zone is rooted in his birthplace, the tiny tropical republic of Vanuatu where his father ran its hospital and his mother, in her front garden, built its first school.
From this obscure South Seas group he ranges over the hot, wet, beautiful swathe of the world that has haunted him ever since - dines with a tropical queen in a leper colony, makes his way across tropical Africa (and two civil wars) in a forty-four-year-old flying boat, delivers a new church bell to a remote Oceanian island and visits scores of countries to learn about their history, politics, medicine, flora and fauna (including the remarkable role of the coconut in tropical life).
But, as becomes plain, the torrid zone is not just a geographical phenomenon, it's also a state of mind.
The result is a witty, entertaining and immensely readable book from a fine storyteller.
About the Author
Alexander Frater has contributed to various UK publications and the New Yorker; as chief travel correspondent of the London Observer he won an unprecedented number of British Press Travel Awards. He lives in London, though, whenever time and money allow, is likely to be found skulking deep in the hot, wet tropics.
"Lyrical [and] moving. . . . Part memoir, part travel yarn, a hymn to the solar lands." --"The New York Times Book Review"
"Entertaining. . . . This world is literally teeming with natural wonders, local characters, and wild stories." --"The" "Boston Globe"
"A book to treasure on many levels. . . . Be prepared to be fascinated."
--"The Washington Times"
'Fascinating. . . . A diverting, loose-limbed tour of the earth's hot zones. . . . Mr Frater, a genial tour guide and a stylish writer, makes excellent company." --"The New York Times"
Number Of Pages: 380
Published: 6th May 2005
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.9 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.257