‘Airplane Mode’: a ‘lively’ history of travel

The tower of books I’ve promised to get round to reading in 2024 is going to rise a little, thanks to what I’ve read about Airplane Mode, the debut of Shanaz Habib, a writer and translator based in Brooklyn. Her publisher, Catapult, says this “witty personal and cultural history of travel, from the perspective of a Third World-raised woman of colour, asks: what does it mean to be a joyous traveller when we live in the ruins of colonialism, capitalism and climate change?” The book, long-listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Non-Fiction, was reviewed early in December in The New York Times by Alexandra Jacobs, who described it as “a lively and… wide-ranging book that interrogates some of [travel’s] conventions and most prominent chroniclers” and “urges readers to be alert to the world’s injustices and impending catastrophes as they take their pleasure jaunts”.

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