Walking Backwards


From Istanbul to New Delhi to Boulder, Colorado, through Venice, Paris, Rome, and points between.

As travellers, we are always walking backwards, forever on the verge of stepping into the unknown, never knowing what waits around the next corner.

You could be lost, forget your passport, fall ill. You could be served a bowl of food and not know whether it’s animal, vegetable, or mineral. Even flushing the toilet can be an adventure.

You are a child again, innocent and hoping for the best, forced to trust strangers. Quite often this works out. Not always.

Walking Backwards is a return to 10 cities and what happened there. Whether inadvertently smuggling cloth into Istanbul, reading poetry in New Delhi to a crowd expecting a world-famous pianist, or wandering endlessly through Mantua searching for a non-existent hotel on a street that’s fallen off the map, Mark Frutkin is a master at rediscovering the magic at the heart of all travel.


Dewey Divas and the Dudes


The form of travel Frutkin describes is no longer the norm in our wired world, so many of his anecdotes are tinged with nostalgia. Walking Backwards is a reminder of the travellers we once were, and, as such, is both sentimental and entertaining.

Quill and Quire (September, 2011)

we are happy to join Frutkin with whomever he meets and wherever he goes. His innocence is charming, his wit razor sharp. This is a lovely read.

The Globe and Mail (September, 2011)

Walking Backwards is often tongue in cheek. But the book also has dreamy poetic moments and always loads of insight.

The Ottawa Citizen (September, 2011)

A poet and published author of both fiction and non-fiction, Frutkin has a keen eye for detail, a boundless interest in people, an appreciation for natural beauty, an epicurean love of fine food, a playful yet droll sense of humour and a talent for visual imagery.

Glebe Report

About the Author

Mark Frutkin

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Mark Frutkin photo

Mark Frutkin

Mark Frutkin is an award-winning fiction author whose most recent novel, Fabrizio's Return, won the Trillium and Sunburst Awards and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (Canada/Caribbean Region). In 2008 he published a memoir, Erratic North: A Vietnam Draft Resister's Life in the Canadian Bush. He lives in Ottawa.