Book Review: The Kindness of Strangers by Tom Lutz

October 11, 2021


The Kindness of Strangers by Tom Lutz is a collection of essays about the people the author met during his travels. Mr. Lutz is a published author, university professor, and a traveler.

Book Review: The Kindness of Strangers by Tom Lutz
My rating for The Kindness of Strangers4
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Travel leaves you speechless, and turns you into a storyteller…” is how The Kindness of Strangers by Tom Lutz starts. I can’t think of a better phrase to sum up the experience of traveling, especially out of your comfort zone.

Mr. Lutz likes to go off the beaten path. He likes to travel off-season, stay at cheap hotels, eat at street restaurants. When we travel, we also opt for local places, and go off the beaten path. However, with a family I don’t think I’d take as many chances as the author. Even though, they do make good stories.

I have been in the several places as the author, our experience varies. I did get sick in Cuzco, Peru but because I drank stream water on a hike -I wasn’t bedded, but was very unpleasant to be around for a day or two. During the big festival I was cased by an old woman, and some kids who tried to cut the bottom of my bag, unsuccessfully. Unlike the author, I enjoyed my time in that beautiful City. In Lima, however, there were two attempted robberies the day we arrived (I was part of a group of 5).
It’s safe to say I’ll never go back again.

Brazil, which was beautiful, I also felt, like the author, that I am just being cased very often. I didn’t carry with me anything except a few Cruzeros though.

However, like the author, the wonderful people I met are all worthy of their own chapter in a book. Either locals, or travelers like myself, from all around the world.

But how’s the book?

The book has no structure, just a bunch of essays about far off places, and interesting people. These essays could be read out of order, there is not timeline. The author tells that to the reader in the first few pages, so it’s not a surprise.

The people Mr. Lutz meet are from all walks of life, restaurateurs, guides, drivers, day laborers in bars, shifty hotel owners, and more. This is not a “look at this lovely place” book, the author describes harrowing experiences of almost getting mugged, cased, and generally being a stranger in a strange place. The majority of his experiences are positive.

The essays pontificate on the author’s experience, and the larger implications to the world. They are thoughtful, not manipulative, and open.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer:I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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The Kindness of Strangers by Tom Lutz

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