Om Departure Lounge
The mid-Eighties. No cell phones, no email, no caller ID, no GPS. It was easier then to pass without notice, to be out of touch, to get lost. The Berlin Wall still stood, as did the World Trade Center, and Michael Reid embarks on what even he concedes to be a spate of obsessive travel: Scandinavia, the Persian Gulf, South Asia, back home to the Ozarks, then off again to Greece, Eastern Europe and Egypt. Along the way, he writes letters about what he's seeing and what he's thinking to three friends: Anna Browning, a mathematician in Tallahassee, who thinks of Michael less fondly than he thinks of her; Richard Randolph, Michael's baseball- watching pal, who leads a comfortable-perhaps too comfortable-life as a law professor in Albuquerque; and Marie Cochran, a middle- school social studies teacher in rural New Mexico, who is Michael's on-again-off-again lover. These three all know Michael, but they don't know each other. And, against the background of Michael's travels and his letters, their lives become curiously, even mysteriously, intertwined, changed in ways that Michael himself can't imagine.