Library Journal Review

Hodgson, who is also a book designer, has published both novels (e.g., The Tatooed Map) and nonfiction (e.g., Italy Out of Hand). As always, she evocatively intertwines her design and verbal skills. There is the whiff of Proust here but the hands and heart of a practical rummager; her intellect, her reveries, and her well-traveled feet thread their way through the old markets and dusty shops of the cities she most favors for her adventures, made up as much of browsing as buying. She divides this heavily illustrated volume by city: London, Brussels, Paris, Rochefort, Naples, Budapest, Istanbul, Damascus, Aleppo, Aswan, Marrakech, Fex El-Djedid, Tangier, Shanghai, Stanley, Los Angeles, Portland, and Vancouver. Hodgson is a crusader for the fragile relics of the past, whether understood or mystifying. To reassure us that there is no pretension here, she calls the gatherings "old stuff," wearing her erudition lightly as she examines particular objets trouvés even as she questions the whys and wherefores of her fascination with orphaned ephemera. Readers will feel themselves tripping along after her, charmed as she picks up a long-ago discarded passport and half-imagines, half-explains the travels that the document surely knew. She writes beautifully: "I savor the taste of age and leave with threads from torn bindings clinging to my hair." Highly recommended for armchair travel and material culture collections.—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal