Unruly Places is a book for deep thinkers. As Bonnett travels the world, he ponders what spaces mean and represent for us. A fox den he finds in his native Newcastle leads him to ponder how we share our space with indigenous wildlife. The Nowhere Festival in the Spanish desert makes him wonder about places that only exist for a brief time before disappearing entirely. Bonnett does write about how many of the places featured in this book came to be, but the focus, for the most part, is not on history. (After a while, I started to skim the philosophical maunderings because I wanted more of the history.)
I detected a lot of melancholy in Unruly Places because so many of them are dead, dying, and disappearing due to disaster, economics, politics, or climate change. Many of the places can't be visited—Wittenoom, Western Australia; Hobyo, Somalia; Pripyat, Ukraine—because they're just too dangerous. By writing Unruly Places, Bonnett preserves something of them and takes us along for the ride. This book will force you to think about place in a way you've never thought about it before.
I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review. It will be released 8 July 2014.