Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe Audible Audiobook – Abridged
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Audible Audiobook, Abridged
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Bryson brings his unique brand of humor to travel writing as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet and heads for Europe. Travelling with Stephen Katz - also his wonderful sidekick in A Walk in the Woods - he wanders from Hammerfest in the far north, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia.
As he makes his way round this incredibly varied continent, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before with caustic hilarity.
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|Listening Length||5 hours and 38 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 15, 1999|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #30,881 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#21 in Europe Travel & Tourism
#95 in Travel Writing & Commentary
#159 in General Europe Travel Guides
Top reviews from the United States
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Unfortunately, the experience was lackluster and occasionally downright embarrassing. A writer I remembered as being witty and insightful now reads more like the uncle who uses racial slurs over Thanksgiving dinner.
Many of the observations in this book -are- clever and interesting - it's impossible not to be delighted at secondhand accounts of foreign transportation, dining, and mannerisms - but these reflections are peppered with weirdly prejudiced statements that are more jarring than entertaining. There is hardly a city he visits in which he does not give in to the impulse to describe just how attractive or unattractive he personally finds the women (there are ample lingering descriptions of women's breasts and butt as though they are just as ornamental as the architecture). In one section the idea of fat people having sex is described as "comic relief" and then not three chapters later he is discussing his own weight with self-deprecating but thoughtful tones that these anonymous people were evidently not entitled to. He goes to great lengths to describe in detail how repulsed he is by sex workers, and at one point mourns the loss of "Dutch wh*res" replaced by "Asians and Africans" - as though Asian or black and Dutch are two groups with no overlap.
There are a litany of such baffling narrative decisions too repetitive and uninteresting to list. Were it a few missteps the merits of this book might be able to shine through them, but as is, they were just too frequent and unpleasant to ignore. I am going to have to think very hard about reading another book by Bryson, as it's a tiring experience to have to brace myself for the experience of an adult man whining about his disgust at glimpsing armpit hair.
Bryson covers some history of the cities he visits and lets us know what to expect when we visit these places--how crowded the museums are and about dealing with the people of these countries.
There are many parts of this book which made me laugh out loud. A touch of sarcasm the laces the humor in this book. Bryson never fails to entertain while educating his reader. This is true in all his books. If you've not read a Bill Bryson book before, this one is a good start.
Even if you aren't a world traveler, I think you will like this book.
This book showcases those talents in an hilarious, yet educational, recounting of two trips he made across Europe. Once as a young man with his friend Katz, and once alone as a middle aged man.
Great travelogue with many laugh out loud moments.
Top reviews from other countries
The journals of an American, who moved to Europe, decided to reside in UK because they speak English and comments on other Europeans isn't funny.
I thought the book would be funny when he encounters cultural and language differences and funny situations that happens to almost all of us while travelling. But this book describes people in a very stereotypical way, making judgements and even at sometimes racist. I understand that it was written back in 90's, otherwise it would have been rejected, not even published. £7 wasted.
I suppose it may be aptly described as a lighthearted travelogue with humour which I find compulsive reading. Occasionally I get the impression that the dialogue is a bit repetitive but , overall, it provides interesting entertainment and opens up the world to those of us unable to travel beyond Felixstowe. I give it only four stars because I do not like the author's inclination to use unpleasant invective, eg the four letter word for excrement which is totally unnecessary and not an attractive feature, presumable akin to the modern fashion of many so-called comedians nowadays who find it difficult to be funny without the use of blasphemy ! I confidently recommend this book, along with the better " Notes from a small island ". I now look forward to reading about his visit to Oz.