The Glimpse Traveler

The Glimpse Traveler

Marianne Boruch
Distribution: World
Publication date: 7/29/2011
ISBN: 978-0-253-00555-7
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When she joins a pair of hitchhikers on a trip to California, a young Midwestern woman embarks on a journey about memory and knowledge, beauty and realization. This true story, set in 1971, recounts a fateful, nine-day trip into the American counterculture that begins on a whim and quickly becomes a mission to unravel a tragic mystery. The narrator’s path leads her to Berkeley, San Francisco, Mill Valley, Big Sur, and finally to an abandoned resort motel, now become a down-on-its-luck commune in the desert of southern Colorado. Neither a memoir about private misery, nor a shocking exposé of life in a turbulent era, The Glimpse Traveler describes with wry humor and deep feeling what it was like to witness a peculiar and impossibly rich time.

Author Bio

Marianne Boruch, a poet, is Professor of English at Purdue University. She has published several poetry collections and two books of essays, and her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Nation, and elsewhere. She has won two Pushcart Prizes, the Parnassus Terrence DePres Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.


"I have not seen another nonfiction book that offers such a perceptive, engaging, intimate chronicle of the early 1970s, the road-weary hippie hitchhikers, the anti-war sentiment, the dope-induced haze. Boruch . . . captures this very specific, significant time and place with exquisite clarity and lyric detail and description." —Dinty Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

"Marianne takes off into the unknown with $10, carrying her begging bowl and having the artist’s faith that it will be filled with story. She never questions it. She’s curious, and she follows that curiosity. The universe doesn’t disappoint." —Susan Neville, author of Sailing the Inland Sea

"From its first page The Glimpse Traveler launches us on a trajectory—an On The Road-style westward-ho picaresque journey through 1971 American culture—Berkeley, Big Sur, Esalen, communes galore, and even normality, in all its strangeness. Marianne Boruch is a bona-fide story teller, and the episodes are unobtrusively salted with the narator's curious, wry, deeply intelligent and lyrical meditations about love, selves, art, beauty and knowability. The Glimpse Traveler is a wise, vulnerable, perfectly configured piece of literature, and a great read as well." —Tony Hoagland

The Glimpse Traveler is a wild romp into the wild romp of the 1971, trippy, establishment-hating past, with all the accoutrements: hitchhiking, hippie vans, communes, Esalen, nude sun-bathing, hot-tubbing, bong-hitting—you name it, Marianne Boruch has got it covered. Hilarious satire, tender coming-of-age-making-of-a-poet memoir, bursting with dazzling language and marvelous characters. A stunning book!" —Karen Brennan, author of Being With Rachel

"[T]his book ha[s] a distinctive writing style. Boruch is a poet and English professor, so she has a beautiful way with words." —

"What Marianne Boruch has done in this memoir is nothing short of extraordinary: nearly 40 years after the fact, she has managed to recreate a road trip—and a time period—so wholly that I felt like I was there." —

"This slender volume by poet and essayist Boruch . . . will transport readers to a time when a nation's youth searched for meaning against the backdrop of the Vietnam War." —Publishers Weekly

"The Glimpse Traveler is more than a book written about a generation; this is a book about memory and how we recall the intense moments of our lives. Most writers would reveal the story in long chapters, steeped with descriptions and dialogue, but Boruch offers us something different: the way memories are really revealed." — , 9/30/2011

The Glimpse Traveler sets the past glimmering with fragments of remembered light." —Bloom Magazine , October/November 2011

"With a frank poignancy which paints the experience as neither good or bad but merely a truly unique experience like none other,
The Glimpse Traveler is a thoughtful and much recommended pick." —The Midwest Book Review

"The journey of this memoir is not only one from this side of the country to the other, a mere matter of mileage, but from this point in time to a point somewhere in memory, a distance measured in decades, that blurs and disappears as soon as it arrives. 'Oh moment of history,' exclaims Boruch's narrator, invoking memory's ancient muse, 'be specific and huge,' a summons to which The Glimpse Traveler answers in full." —Indiana Review

"Most exceptional is Marianne Boruch’s The Glimpse Traveler, published by Indiana University Press. . . . There are so many goodies in this book. Boruch lingers in the most intriguing moments of their absurdly haphazard journey across the country with an awareness of the clichés of the time. . . . The book clips along at an addictive pace and in what seems like no time at all reaches its staggering climax and then concludes with an equally stunning finale.

" —Fourth Genre

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