My my NYT book review has attracted at least one new sale as evidenced by this fan letter I received just today:
Dear Ms. Chiang,
I just finished reading your book "The Handsomest Man in Cuba" and I must comment that I have never read such egotistical drivel from a so-called travel writer. Your website says it all when it states "the self-indulgent writings" et al.
If you're going to write about your travel adventures and expect other people to read them and enjoy it, please write about the culture, the people and the history of the countries that you visit and your experience in relationship to these cultures so that you can convey to your readers a sense of the country.
All you did in "The Handsomest Man in Cuba" was basically bitch about everyone and everything in the most untrusting way.
I have been to Cuba several times and my experience was totally different than yours. Perhaps because I didn't think solely of myself the entire trip.
Get rid of that ego and selfishness and you might have something to report to your readers.
Thank you for writing. Yes, that ego and selfishness, that is certainly how I was ten years ago, and naive to boot. I wanted readers to see what a despicable excuse for humanity a traveler can be, no matter where they visit, and it looks like I succeeded. You clearly have a radically different opinion about Cuba and travel writing to share with readers - you too must write a book so people don't get a myopic view just by reading my account. Thank you again for taking the time.
I've just been asked to become an 'expert blogger' for fastcompany.com
Here is a link to my soapbox on that site: http://www.galfromdownunder.com/blog
So far, there's only 1 other blogger in my category - 'Work/Life' - a happily married father of five. I think it's neat that I can complement him by representing a largely ignored segment of the population: families of one. I'm not planning to be any less candid than this, my Galfromdownunder UNCUT blog, which has long been my silent cyber shoulder for pondering life, ranting mercilessly and the occasional uncontrollable sob (if you scroll back far enough). So I'm bracing myself for the inevitable slew of flak. Bring it on! And you're gonna be a long time dead ...