Cotopaxi Visions: Travels in Ecuador


285 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55082-017-6
DDC 918.604'74'092






Photos by George Kaufman and David Offutt
Reviewed by J.H. Galloway

J.H. Galloway is a geography professor at the University of Toronto.


Joe Fisher was born and brought up in England, where he began his career
as a journalist. He moved to Canada and worked for a time on The Toronto
Sun. In the late 1970s, when he was 30, restlessness compelled him to
quit his job. Attracted by the idea of climbing the volcano Cotopaxi, he
went to Quito, where he lived in cheap hotels, taught English to stretch
out his savings, had visa problems, was ill, chased girls, smoked pot,
tried to write, traveled around, came home. There is nothing remarkable
about these experiences, but 13 years after his return to Canada Fisher
has published this account of them.

The book is like his experiences—rather ordinary. Fisher’s prose is
riddled with clichés: the ocean is turquoise, mountains soar, rivers
coil, and people “hail” from wherever it is they come from. A visit
to the Galapagos Islands produces the expected reference to Darwin (five
lines, including mention of The Beagle and The Origin of Species).
Mention is all any subject seems to merit, which creates the impression
that the author is not very knowledgeable about Ecuador. His friends and
acquaintances arouse little interest as they drift in and out of the
narrative. The black-and-white photographs do justice to neither the
people nor the scenery.

According to the back-cover blurb, Fisher has written a novel and
“several best-selling investigations into the paranormal.” Clearly,
travel writing is not his forte.


Fisher, Joe., “Cotopaxi Visions: Travels in Ecuador,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 19, 2024,