Soul-searching is more than a metaphysical journey for the anonymous narrator of Lynne Tillman’s Motion Sickness, an offbeat travelogue by a woman looking outside for solace within. This is Jack Kerouac’s On the Road rewritten by the opposite sex in the form of vignettes of far-flung places and implausible encounters.
Impressions, associations, and bits of conversation jotted during lulls in a mostly manic itinerary, coalesce into a densely descriptive narrative. The result is a keen portrayal of the postmodern world from so many cafés, hotels, and other way stations where reality and responsibility appear reassuringly remote.
From the top of a double-decker London bus, the narrator notes, ”One of the privileges of travel is never to fit in. And not to fit in…is a kind of freedom.” It’s also the reason she keeps moving, since what matters is not the city, the sights, bluer skies, or better views, but the almost arbitrary exchange of one of these for another, as if sustaining the adrenaline of motion is more important than any experience along the way. B+