Towards the end of her engaging travel memoir-cum-self-help book, Love and Other U-Turns, Louisa Deasey refers to her year-long road trip with Jim as “Survivor — Romance Style”.
For me it conjured up Eat Pray Love meets Tim Winton and Martin Mischkulnig’s Smalltown. Almost on a whim, freelance journalist Deasey throws in her lot with the peripatetic Jim, leaving the comforts of her lattes, her daily newspaper and her city girlfriends to wander seemingly aimlessly the length and breadth of Australia, chasing the ultimate pub gig that is bread, butter and soul food for her new man.
Louisa and Jim are road warriors, sleeping in swags, eschewing showers and just about every other comfort for the experience of living truly in the moment. But while she is able to divest herself of almost all her possessions, she finds freedom elusive and love confounding.
Love & Other U-turns is a road movie in a book and Deasey is able to evoke the greasy bain-marie at the truck stop as evocatively as the chance sighting of whales in the Great Australian Bight. She also does a great line in claustrophobia and paranoia that can accrue from hours spent in a car on an empty outback road.
This book will be enjoyed by anyone who has ever run away only to discover that the one person you can’t escape from is yourself.