Journeys to the Other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge. By Roxanne L. Euben. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. 330p. $29.95.
Travel narratives, as Mikhail Bakhtin once noted, have a dialogic quality. Putting the unfamiliar into conversation with the familiar, they have the capacity to deepen our understanding of each. Travelers themselves have a third voice in this exchange, at times standing in each culture but never becoming located completely in either. At their best, then, travel narratives reflect multiple positions, connect multiple traditions, and speak to multiple audiences. They transgress the boundaries that most people take as given or fixed, and in the resulting blur of borders, they open new conceptual and imaginative spaces.