Stranger on a Train by Jenny Diski
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Stranger on a Train
By Jenny Diski

Stranger on a Train

Daydreaming and Smoking Around America

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Format: Paperback

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Stranger on a Train by Jenny Diski

Book Awards

  • Winner of Thomas Cook Travel Book Award 2003.
  • Winner of Joe Ackerley Prize 2003.
  • Shortlisted for Thomas Cook Travel Book Award 2003.

Book Description

In spite of the fact that her idea of travel is to stay home with the phone off the hook, Jenny Diski takes a trip around the perimeter of the USA by train. Somewhat reluctantly she meets all kinds of characters, all bursting with stories to tell and finds herself brooding about the marvellously familiar landscape of America, half-known already through film and television. Like the pulse of the train over the rails, the theme of the dying pleasures of smoking thrums through the book, along with reflections on the condition of solitude and the nature of friendship and memories triggered by her past times in psychiatric hospitals. Cutting between her troubled teenaged years and contemporary America, the journey becomes a study of strangers, strangeness and estrangement - from oneself, as well as from the world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860499951
ISBN-10: 1860499953
Format: Paperback
(145mm x 200mm x 19mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 15-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

Books By Author Jenny Diski

What I Don't Know About Animals by Jenny Diski What I Don't Know About Animals, Paperback (August 2012)

* From the award-winning writer, following her memoirs, Skating to Antarctica, Stranger on a Train, On Trying to Keep Still - a unique book about animal watching, out now in paperback.

Sixties by Jenny Diski Sixties, Paperback (July 2010)

Many books have been written on the Sixties - tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution. This title dismantles the big ideas that dominated the era - liberation, permissiveness and self-invention - to consider what the author and her generation were really up to.

» View all books by Jenny Diski


UK Kirkus Review » At the age of 13, Jenny Diski would spend her weekends and holidays on the Circle Line of the London Underground. She would pick up a couple of books from the local library, purchase food from the various station vendors and spend the day going round and round, reading anything from Nabokov to Poe to Margaret Mitchell. Over 30 years later, she undertakes another circular train trip, this time round America on a train, from New York to Chicago, Portland, Sacramento, Denver, Albuquerque, Tucson and finally New Orleans back to New York. The trains have wonderfully lyrical names such as Lake Shore Limited, Empire Builder and Coast Starlight and the landscape travelled through is familiar to us from generations of films. As an avid smoker, Jenny Diski is one of a dying breed and the most important carriage in the various trains is the smoking car. Essentially a person of solitude, Jenny reluctantly gets into conversations with other smokers, all who have their own lives and stories to tell. As with her previous memoir, Skating to Antarctica, the author uses her observations and the stories of her fellow passengers to reflect on her own life, particularly the times spent in various psychiatric hospitals. This is not a travelogue but a memoir of life, of the pleasures of smoking, the nature of friendships and of solitude, and as such it is thoughtful and deeply moving. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Jenny Diski

Jenny Diski was born in 1947 in London where she has lived most of her life. She recently moved to Cambridge. She is the author of eight novels and an acclaimed memoir and her journalism has appeared in the Mail on Sunday, the Observer and the London Review of Books, amongst others.

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