Neither Here nor There : Travels in Europe Paperback – 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
After 20 years as a London-based reporter, American journalist Bryson ( The Mother Tongue ) set out to retrace a youthful European backpacking trip, from arctic Norway's northern lights to romantic Capri and the "collective delirium" of Istanbul. Descriptions of historic and artistic sights in the Continent's capitals are cursory; Bryson prefers lesser-known locales, whose peculiar flavor he skillfully conveys in anecdotes that don't scant the seamy side and often portray eccentric characters encountered during untoward adventures of the road. He enlivens the narrative with keen, sometimes acerbic observations of national quirks like the timed light switches in French hallways, but tends to strive too hard for comic effects, some in dubious taste. He also joins other travelers in deploring the growing hordes of peddlers who overrun major tourist meccas.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Bryson, a baby boomer, retraces his journeys through Europe in 1972 and 1973, when he and an Iowa high school buddy backpacked through the continent's major capitals and cities. In this account, Bryson revisits many of those places, and his tales about the changes in the sites--and within himself--are fascinating and often hilarious. The interests of Bryson and his unforgettable buddy, Stephen Katz, were quite different almost 20 years ago; they were in a constant search for beer and women and their favorite and least favorite places were judged accordingly. His interests on this latest trip are a bit more sophisticated. Bryson blends the accounts of the two journeys, offering insight into the various countries as well as his own life. This book is fun for travelers or armchair travelers, especially for anyone who journeyed through Europe in the hippie days of the early 1970s.
- Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Wondervu, Col.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Somewhere along the way, Bryson lost his sense of "private astonishment" for Europe. Wherever he travels in this book, and as hard has he tries, Bryson is unable to recapture his youthful sense of wonder for Europe again; it is neither here nor there. As a result, and as numerous other reviewers have previously noted, this is the travel narrative of a xenophobic tourist, who finds very little to praise about his experience traveling through Europe. Instead, we find Bryson tramping through Europe, rather indistinguishable from the hordes of other boorish tourists who overrun major tourist destinations like Paris, Florence, Brussels, Stockholm, Rome, in search of inexpensive American food like burgers and beer, offering us very few original insights along the way, attempting instead to entertain us with sophomoric and mean-spirited humor. While many rucksack travelers (including me) have known the "private astonishment" Bryson experienced while traveling through Europe in his younger years, few readers would ever want to visit the Europe Bryson has described in this book.
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