Zoe Cano Southern Espapades Book Review

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SOUTHERN ESCAPADES

THE REVIEW


What better way to review a travel book than by travelling yourself, ‘Southern Escapades’ by Zoe Cano the perfect companion for an extended business trip to Prague and Frankfurt.


Where this narrative of an intimate and personal journey differs is that unlike most books sent for review, I met the author which places a completely different slant on proceedings. Even when the meeting was a few spare moments it enabled me to ascertain how the author came to pen each word along with the briefest of glimpses inside the actual person and the excitement that drives her.


One of life’s naturally inquisitive adventurers, Ms Cano has lived and worked in Paris, New York, Boston along with spending time in Brazil, set up a charity, walked along the Great Wall of China, trekked in the Amazon rainforest along with horseback expeditions in the Andes and Atlas Mountains. In turn these adventures highlight the author’s natural inquisitiveness, passion to experience the fullness of life and encounter even fleetingly the lives of others.


Having previously written ‘Bonneville Go or Bust – The Roads Less Travelled, a ten thousand kilometre journey using nothing more than old National Geographic maps and an aged 860cc Triumph Bonneville T100. Criss-crossing the American continent, the resultant book was picked up by Road Dog Publications, Ms Cano’s writing and style of travel fitting neatly within their portfolio.




Exhibiting an easy, flowing style of writing all sixteen chapters keep the reader fully entertained, an unfettered almost literary innocence and her sheer pleasure of ‘being there’ conveyed to the reader with the author’s unique fervour. Reason being the author has thankfully not succumbed to the needs and demands of commercialism or the need to write as little as possible for as much as possible. Astride a modern Bonneville ‘Southern Escapades’ commences in Florida before making its back roads way into Alabama, Georgia and back where the trip started all the while taking in locations and gatherings in such places as Panama City, Sarasota, Birmingham, Bessemer along with the motorcycle show at Barber.


Equally, there’s the evening spent at Gip’s Joint, a traditional blues juke joint in Union Town, a quiet few days alone at Longboat Key along with sights, sounds and characters the conventional traveller will never encounter. Weaving equally between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast, the book opens up a side of the Florida Panhandle that time and highways have left behind, plunging the author into a rich cultural mix. The end result is a book that takes the reader on a ride, each turn of the wheel and twist of the throttle resulting in a vivid, intimate description the author passionately passes onto the reader, to a degree you share the sun on her face and each grain of sand on her skin.



An accomplished photographer with a natural eye for colour, composition and detail, if criticism had to be made it’s the fact the publisher has failed to capitalise on Ms Cano’s visual abilities. Completely outside of the author’s control, a travel book should be replete with imagery but for various reasons the publishers have has failed to capitalise on their literary investment. All the more surprising since the publisher himself was her intermittent travelling companion.


The minimal number of black and white photographs doesn’t however detract from what is a book that entertains and enthralls on every page, each reader a brief pillion on Ms Cano’s ever expanding journey through these southern states. There’s a line in a song that says ‘never let your dreams grow small’, I for one hoping the author will continue to live her dreams and pass on her adventures. I also feel that the now pair of books will soon become a trilogy, the third potential volume something to be looked forward to, Ms Cano’s capacity to inspire verging in infectious, travel, biking and writing as liberating to Ms Cano as it is absorbing for the reader.


‘Southern Escapades’ by Zoe Cano is published by Road Dog Publications USA ISBN No: 978-1-890623-49-4 and is priced at $21-95 USD or £15 via the author’s online bookstore. Copies of both books can also be acquired by visiting with Zoe Cano at one of her numerous book signings, the benefit of which is that you’ll get to meet her in person. For further details visit www.zoecano.com or www.roaddogpub.com.