‘Motorcycle Memoirs’ by Geneva Pryce-Jones

Few travel books illustrate so absolutely the neurosis and insecurities of an author. It would be too easy to simply say that ‘Motorcycle Memoirs’ is terrible, which it is, because it is also very sad. A comfortably off North American woman is in awe of an Ecuadorian gigolo who she variously refers to by name, or as ‘the guide’. She places her complete trust and confidence in him and his every decision, regardless of the psychological power games he so obviously plays to cope with his own internal demons.

My amateur psychological reading of the situation may seem a little harsh, but page after page details how often and in what position she manages to have sex with him, how many pills they both need to cope with their headaches and other ailments and how he chooses every hotel and restaurant that they use and she pays for. He is permitted to change his mind on a whim and dictate when she sleeps in the single bunk in a room so that he can have the double – except for carnal activities – but this doesn’t register as weird.

It takes over a hundred pages before the reader is even introduced to the bike ‘Atlas,’ a 750 Africa Twin beset with problems, as much of the book actually focusses on travels in ‘Zumba’, a 4×4 with similar unreliability. It is a supremely disjointed collection of smaller trips throughout the Americas, between which the author regularly flies back to Canada, sometimes at the behest of ‘the guide’.

You’ll learn precious little about anywhere they go, save for the room numbers in every hotel and the meals they eat; food and her lack of weight is another obsession. Although beautifully proofed, this is navel gazing par excellence.

Paddy Tyson

ISBN: 978-15187-273-75
Paperback 327pp assorted B&W maps
Published by author. (2015)