Unruly Places by Alastair Bonnett is one fascinating read. Don’t let the fact that Bonnett is an academic put you off. This is a book that is written in quick snippets and in an easy, accessible voice. It will also make you look at the world around you in a different way.
Unruly Places is divided into multiple sections, such as Lost Spaces and Dead Cities and each of these sections is further broken down into case studies of specific locales that fit that designation. For me some of the most interesting were the Aralqum Desert as a Lost Space, Sealand as a Breakaway State and LAX Airport Parking Lot as an Ephemeral Place. In each case study Bonnett looks at a location in detail over the course of 4 or 5 pages. He presents multiple view points on the situation presented, looking at both the positives and negatives.
Who would like this book? I read Unruly Places over about two weeks. They way it is laid out makes it perfect for dipping in and out of and reading in short bits. The overall arc of the narrative is clear enough that you don’t really need to read it all at once or even in order. The traveler in me was drawn to the book and i suspect it will appeal to all with wanderlust. It reminded me of places I’d like to go (Cappadocia) and made me reflect on the areas surrounding me in a different way. The ‘dead space’ in between buildings in tightly packed urban areas will never seem the same.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review consideration.