A lifelong traveller with an admitted ‘predilection for unlovely things’, Roger Willemsen has tramped over five continents in search of the ends of the earth. Some are literally that—geographical and topographical extremities like the Cape of Good Hope, the Himalaya, the volcanoes of Kamchatka, and the North Pole. Other endpoints take Willemsen’s psychological endurance to breaking point—the foetid warrens of a Mumbai brothel; a deathbed vigil in a hospital ward in Minsk, Belarus; an afternoon spent under Luca Signorelli’s fresco, The Last Judgement, in Orvieto, Italy, in a futile wait for a lover. And, through this series of remarkable sketches, Willemsen manages to reach for another kind of end, cathartic and healing—an end to love and lust, to illusions, to order and understanding.
A brilliantly conceived and utterly original travelogue, The Ends of the Earth is as much an exploration of landscapes and geographies as it is of the psyche. This volume is perfect for every kind of traveller.