Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel
By Thomas Cook
A memoir of a lifetime's travel to some of the darkest places on earth: a first work of non-fiction from this much-admired and award-winning crime writer
'I have come to thank dark places for the light they bring to life.'
Thomas Cook has always been drawn to dark places, for the powerful emotions they evoke and for what we can learn from them. These lessons are often unexpected and sometimes profoundly intimate, but they are never straightforward.
With his wife and daughter, Cook travels across the globe in search of darkness - from Lourdes to Ghana, from San Francisco to Verdun, from the monumental, mechanised horror of Auschwitz to the intimate personal grief of a shrine to dead infants in Kamukura, Japan. Along the way he reflects on what these sites may teach us, not only about human history, but about our own personal histories.
During the course of a lifetime of traveling to some of earth's most tragic shores, from the leper colony on Molokai to ground zero at Hiroshima, he finds not darkness alone, but a light that can illuminate the darkness within each of us. Written in vivid prose, this is at once a personal memoir of exploration (both external and internal), and a strangely heartening look at the radiance that may be found at the very heart of darkness.
Thomas H Cook was born in Fort Payne, Alabama. He has been a college English teacher and a book review editor, but is best known as a hugely popular crime writer. He is the winner of the Edgar Award for The Chatham School Affair and has been shortlisted for the CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger and the Anthony Award. He lives in Cape Cod and New York City. Tragic Shores is his first non-fiction book.
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- Publication date:
06 Apr 2017
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A fascinating, troubling memoir from a fine writer — Mick Herron, Geographical Magazine
Tragic Shores is, in a way, not tragic at all. It is a love story, and a hymn to our ability to go on, in the face of the ultimate darkness — Times Literary Supplement
Cook writes movingly, perceptively, fulfilling his assertion that "there is much to be gained where much has been lost" — Irish Times
A beautifully written and poignant memoir that will make you want to pack your bags and visit — Crime Review
Sometimes it takes writing of great power to provide the insight into what it means to be human, as well our place on this planet. Thomas H Cook's Tragic Shores is one such work — Ali Karim, Shots Magazine
Cook writes with a tender precision . . . a stunning and revelatory book that will haunt you for months to come — Catholic Herald
Cook can achieve a palpable, vivid sense of place, often in a few sentences, sometimes in a few words, while smoothly integrating the factual background data into his narrative — Bookbag