Journal article Open Access

Travel and Travel Writing in a Globalized World: A Reading of Pico Iyer's The Global Soul

Bhattacharya, Subarna

Travel books are literary representations of journeys across spaces of cultural difference. The genre of
travel writing, in recent decades, has produced many interesting travelogues which are also significant
studies in cultural heterogeneity in the context of a world post globalization. In their attempts at reading
cultural differences, these travelogues consciously move away from the binary of western and eastern
cultural divide to look at the so-called globalized world from the subjective ideological position of cultural
hybridity. Pico Iyer’s The Global Soul. Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home (2000), a turn of
the century travel book, is one such instance of recent travel writing which offers to take a gaze at the
world from the subjective position of a hybrid cultural self. In this paper, the author proposes to read Pico
Iyer’s The Global Soul. Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, and the Search for Home as an experimental travel
narrative charting new grounds in the genre of travel literature. Moving beyond the physicality of the
journey, the idea of ‘travel’ operates as a multiply nuanced metaphor in the narrative. If, on one level, the
travelogue records Pico’s own subjective visceral responses and his reflections and observations, as he
lives life on the threshold of cultures, on another deeper level, the book is a comment on the very idea
that, living life as a transnational in today’s world of cultural flux, is itself an act of continual travelling
across cultural borders.

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