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martin frumkin
Suspected Hippie In Transit

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

Join Martin as he travels the world five decades ago. In Volume One he treks in NEPAL within the glacial Himalaya, hangs with royal freak princes in INDIA, partakes in guiltless debauchery in tropical Goa, and enjoys opium-induced romance with willing maharinis. He compares the silky white sands of SRI LANKAN beaches to the gritty deserts and Hindu Kush of AFGHANISTAN and searches for enlightenment within Indian mysticism -- all while integrating East and West, God consciousness, the Force and dark chocolate-covered mescaline.
Frumkin’s fascinating memoir of his experience roaming West Asia and the Indian subcontinent in the 1970s immerses readers in a world true to the book’s subtitle. Through detailed pictures and illustrative writing, readers travel with him on a fantastical journey of self-enlightenment and spiritual awakening as Frumkin delves into the culture of his surroundings. He shares rich descriptions and illuminating experiences, the prose inspired by the Beats and their progeny—“Like magnets, Dylanesque cantorial tropes had lured us into a tiny, alley-bound, bohemian head shop,” he writes. He also offers engaging reflections on the vibrant details of each country, with an eye for informing as well as entertaining.

Frumkin writes with an analytic flair while revealing a multilayered world of culture and history, and he meticulously considers the state of America in relation to those new countries and experiences: “best not to forget that panacea (instant solution and gratification), not perseverance (paying one’s dues), has become the American ‘Way,’ or Tao.” The maps, illustrations, and pictures make clear the time-consuming, awe-inspiring scope of the journey, and Frumkin structures the story in distinct sections, sharing the history behind his wanderlust and an insider’s glimpse of the “tattered notebooks” in which he recorded his travels. Frumkin leads his readers on a transformative travelogue that never shies away from tough questions about his homeland and the world at large.

Standouts in this book include the rich descriptions of cultures, histories, and subtle nuances of Nepal, India, and Afghanistan, all shared in lyrical and playful prose (he celebrates what it feels like “to trek and wonder and wander within the womb of Himalayan utopia”) that will absorb readers while they meditate on his deeper conclusions. Those can be deep, even challenging, but his account will please readers inspired by thought-provoking travel narratives. Frumkin’s skilled storytelling keeps the story upbeat and even playful. (The first letters of each word in the title, for example, form an acronym.)

Takeaway: Travelers and spiritual explorers will enjoy this enthralling 1970s odyssey across Asia and Eastern Europe.

Great for fans of: Paul Theroux’s The Tao Of Travel, Paulo Coelho’s Hippie.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A