The International Writers Magazine: Travel
Inka by Angela
Vehorn, Ithaca Press, 2006
her debut novel Inka, Angela Vehorn takes us on a
trip to the more exotic parts of the world, seen through the eyes
of a young travel writer on an assignment to Machu Picchu, in
Take rough and ready
hiking to Machu Picchu, take glamorous award events at the Beverly Hills
Hilton, take quick, witty, wonderwoman-esque Californian beauty, and
take a dedicated travel writer who will do anything for a good story.
Take all this and you will have Kelly Sloane. This is a book about the
modern woman. Doing much more than filling in the average stereotypes
she presents, a beautiful, self-sufficient, single, career-driven young
woman, main character Kelly seems to fulfil the will of a writer to
create ten characters in one.
Each chapter is filled with exciting entrances and eccentric characters,
and while we climb the six-day trail up the Peruvian Andes, the reader
will find themselves deeply entangled in the jungle of happenings that
surround the main character. Accompanying her in her quest for the Lost
City is National Geographic photographer Leif, who she (rather predictably)
falls madly in love with. He is (also rather predictably) young, handsome,
strong, and quite mysterious. The two main characters find themselves
in dozens of no-way-out situations, which, due to their excellence in
adventures, they find their way out of. Some of the secondary characters
in the plot are overly archetypical, namely the evil geographer Dr.
Holmes who chases the twosome up the Andean mountains, among others.
One might find a slight implausibility factor in some of the scenarios
presented by the author, but as the reading goes on this becomes just
another factor which seems to drag along from chapter to chapter.
In the end, its all about a quest for Kellys self-discovery,
as she finds herself in situations that lead to self-examination, often
in the form of nightmares. The book will give you romance, adventure,
comedy and suspense; it will keep you reading, not for the curiosity
of a deep plot, but mainly for entertainment and distraction value.
It comes to mind that perhaps Vehorns concern with keeping the
reader interested might have been slightly overly judged. In an attempt
by the author to keep the adrenaline running, the reader
finds himself surrounded by caves, rituals, serial-killers, ghosts,
lost diaries, and a pot-pourri of cheesy moments that will fill the
pages right to the end of chapter 63.
However, the authors concern with geographic precision and reference
is spot on, as the names of places and Inca building sites are exact.
Illustrations done by Worrasit Tantinipankut at the beginning of most
chapters come as an aid to the readers imagination, and give us
a clear idea of the area the characters have covered.
This novel is slightly reminiscent of Helen Fieldings Olivia
Joules and the Overactive Imagination (Viking Adult, 2004), which
is also about a beautiful, young journalist who finds herself on a life-changing
assignment to an exotic part of the world, where she meets the man of
her dreams. Although the plot does not have the depth and the reality
factor that it could have done had the characters not been so archetypical
and caricatured, and had the twists and punch lines not been so predictable,
it still is enjoyable to read, if only for pure fun and escapism.
© Gabriela Davies November 2006
Gabriella is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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