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Kite Strings of the Southern Cross: A Woman’s Travel Odyssey

(published by Travelers’ Tales in the U.S., and Random House in the U.K.) 

  • Finalist for the Thomas Cook/Daily Telegraph Travel Book Award (alongside Jonathan Raban and Colin Thubron)
  • ForeWord Magazine’s silver medal winner, Travel Book of the Year in the U.S.

Drinking the hallucinogen kava around a campfire, sleeping in a California redwood, rolled up in a rug in an African desert, getting drugged and hypnotized into buying carpets with an Austrian goatherd, fighting off a cab driver in Kuala Lumpur, living in a Hare Krishna temple, taking an illicit dip in Sylvester Stallone’s pool…

From a remote beach in the South Pacific, Laurie Gough recalls her award-winning journey across the globe.

Praise For Kite Strings of the Southern Cross

“A densely sensual and poetic, multi-layered narrative. [Gough] brings a boundless enthusiasm, openness and fundamentally romantic optimism to the world. At the same time, she is also an amiable and engaging storyteller, who knows how to bring characters, dialogues and situations to compelling life. One of the greatest gifts of Gough’s work is its sensual celebration of the world. Some of the moments at the heart of this book are so crystalline and precious that I wish I could wrap them into a ball and keep them on my desk. Reading this book is like traveling all over again.” Don George,

“Laurie Gough’s passionate and poetic travel narrative about her return to paradise….an enchanting guide, moving us rather effortlessly from one exotic site to another. She is present, vulnerable, and delightful.” San Francisco Examiner

“Gough records everything she sees with a subtle wit, a lyrical turn of phrase, and a remarkably open mind. Her writing is vigorous, sensual and visual. She sweeps the reader into her world.” The Globe and Mail

“A curious traveller with a good ear for dialogue and a wild way with words, wrapping her account of travels in the Pacific, Italy, Morocco and elsewhere in a vibrant poetry.” Anthony Sattin, The Sunday Times (UK)

“A terrific yarn. Highly recommended.” Choice

“Amid the hype that surrounds new books and writers, it’s rare to find one who lives up to the superlatives, as Gough does. I’ll look forward to future reflections and stories from this talented and sensitive free spirit.” Quill & Quire

“The best travel book I’ve read in years. It’s the kind of book you want every traveler you know to read.” Brad Newsham, author 

“Lovely, lyrical….a bittersweet tale, heart-felt and well-told. Though she has encountered unhappiness, bewilderment and even terror on the road, her voice is fresh and still full of wonder at what the world still holds.” Trips Magazine

“Her youth screams out from the pages in the best possible way.trusting, unashamedly greedy to touch, taste and smell everything. It makes for a great page-turner. The image of the “Great Aunts” floating like starfish on the water is one I shall never forget. Her seemingly effortless writing will no doubt make her a new star in the Southern Cross.” New Zealand Herald

“A sensual, harrowing, inspirational trip.” Peter Moore, author of The Wrong Way Home

“Anyone who can persuade a Fijian island community to wear leaves in their sandals for good luck is a poet of the road.” Justine Hardy, author of Scoop-Wallah

“You might not be up to sleeping inside a redwood tree, as Gough did in California, or untangling the intricacies of a Fijian extended family, but you’ll be grateful Gough takes you along. Be it good times or bad, you can’t help thinking she’d make an entertaining traveling companion.” Walking Magazine (U.S.)

“Fascinating stories, ripe with adventure and excitement and colourful personalities from around the world. Armchair travellers will delight in this book.” Winnipeg Free Press

“Laurie pulls us into her emotional and physical experiences to the point that you can’t put Kite Strings down.” Palo Alto Daily News

“A dreamy, spiritual adventure. Her storytelling captures the essence of what lures travelers to the road.” Metrowest Daily News

“Colorful and inspiring. This feisty, sexy, energetic tale offers the best of memoir and travel narrative combined. Gough chronicles her encounters with both humor and wisdom.”

“Skip this review, head straight to the bookstore, and buy Kite Strings of the Southern Cross.” Spa Magazine (U.S.)

“The best vicarious reading experience of my life. It’s hard to pinpoint the genre for this amazing book; it’s travel writing meets lyrical poetry meets self improvement. This is the captivating memoir of a young woman who travels across the world to bizarre locales and strange edges of the earth. I found it impossible to remain unchanged by this powerful, funny, insightful, sweep-me-away book.” Artella magazine