Posted by mukikamu on January 30, 2009
I never expected P. J. O’Rouke’s book to be a travel book, but it turned out to be a worth-to-mention experience. I say this for several reasons. Firstly, the book is about his travel experiences to war-torn regions of the world and he manages to stay personal rather than menacingly political. The places he visits come to life much better than in anything I read about these countries lately (not that I have read anything much apart from the daily news) and it’s always rewarding to have an insiders’ view. I particularly enjoyed his chapters about Egypt and Kuwait because I could connect to the local daily life. Although O’Rouke is stubbornly seeing silliness in almost all kind of human action and sneers with maximum vehemence, his book is quite enjoyable. Then again he is famous of his comic style, that makes you laugh despite all your judgement of his message. He is the guy who you can never argue with because he makes you admit how ridiculous you are after your first statement. I find his sarcastic approach an easy way of getting away with things, nevertheless I admit that sometimes lightness of approach is a good way to get to an audience and deal with heavy issues. As they would say in popular magazines: “ A thumbs-up!”
Locations: Israel, Kuwait, Egypt, Washington, Iraq, Iwo Jima, Kosovo
Posted in AFRICA, Egypt, Japan, U.S. | 2 Comments »
Posted by mukikamu on October 2, 2008
Eric Newby is much praised by critics for his distinctive style, tireless enthusiasm and ‘insider-like’ travel stories and it’s true that he has a special point of view. Not many people are as knowledgeable and well-travelled as he is. However, I have been struggling with his book for two years now.
First I sat down to read it from start to finish, but his writing was tiring and I gave up several times. I figured that the best way to get through his book was probably to pick up the relevant chapters before going on a vacation to get an insight on the places on the menu. This seemed to work for a while, because you’re less likely to overload and if you see that you only have a 20-40 pages to read, you are more likely to push through. Nevertheless, by the time we got back from our holiday in Greece and Turkey, I was sincerely glad to tuck the book away.
I can see why Newby was one of the great travel writers of our times, but I miss the sense of discovery from his accounts. He knows everything about the places he goes, but he is at times annoyingly informative, sober and well-educated for my taste. I personally miss the romanticism and mysticism from his travels. His English is very uniquely classy which is distinctive, but harder to a non-native like me to read.
I don’t give up easily though. He is only on the bookshelf until the next trip to the Mediterranean.
Posted in AFRICA, Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, EUROPE, Greece, Italy, Libanon, Macedonia, Morocco, Spain, Syria, travel, travelbook, Travelers, Turkey | Tagged: newby mediterranean book travel greece turkey italy lyb | Leave a Comment »