Category Archives: Books review

“Catching Thunder”, by Eskil Engdal & Kjetil Sæter, Zed.

‘Patagonian toothfish’: raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of it. Apparently, the Patagonian toothfish is a “petulant and repulsive giant” living in the dark bathypelagic depths of the oceans surrounding Antarctica (and how exactly can a fish be ‘petulant’ … Continue reading

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“Narconomics”, by Tom Wainwright, Penguin.

In these days of pandemic stupidity, I often find myself dreaming of inhabiting a world where I’m always the stupidest in the room. In the evident impossibility of relocating permanently to Antarctica (see uncle Tony’s episode to understand what I … Continue reading

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“The Stranger in the Woods”, by Michael Finkel, Simon & Schuster

Source One fine day in 1986, sometime after the Chernobyl disaster and well into Reagan’s second term in office (and a few months before my birth, though it wasn’t mentioned), a twenty-something called Christopher Knight parked his almost-new Subaru Brat … Continue reading

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“Shark Drunk” by Morten Strøksnes, Vintage.

Norwegians are an inscrutable bunch. I’ve got colleagues from up there and, let me tell you, they are a constant source of wonder. Amongst many things, they’ll think nothing of saying things such as “Because you haven’t asked for this … Continue reading

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“Midnight in Sicily” by Peter Robb, Vintage.

Much in the same way that those who learn a language end up with a much deeper knowledge and command of its grammar than the natives, it’s also true that foreigners can, if they live someplace long enough, get to … Continue reading

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“My War Gone By, I Miss It So”, by Anthony Loyd, Anchor.

My edition has been printed in 2000 and, as all cheap paperbacks, isn’t ageing very well. The pages are yellowing with the characteristic celerity of poor quality pulp; its spine is bent, but in fairness it was already in this … Continue reading

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“Wild Coast. Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge”, by John Gimlette, Profile Books

Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana: raise your hands if you can recite, by heart – and no Googling, I can see you – their capitals. Not a clue? Well, I honestly doubt there’ll be many, amongst the few who’ll stumble across … Continue reading

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“Out of Steppe” by Daniel Metcalfe, Arrow – Random House

If the passion for travelling off the beaten path, exploring places that don’t make it on the top-shelf brochure at your local Trailfinders (but, let’s face it, they don’t even make it to the bottom one), was a genetic strand … Continue reading

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“A Death in Brazil: A Book of Omissions”, by Peter Robb, Bloomsbury.

Courtesy Bloomsbury publishing If I were to trawl through my notebooks, through the shapeless lumps of bytes that make the impalpable documents folder in my laptop’s solid-state drive, I’d find a page, or many a .docx files, titled exactly like … Continue reading

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“Arabian Sands”, by Wilfred Thesiger, Penguin Books.

Italo Calvino once wrote that a ‘classic’ is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say. If this is the approved meter of judgement for the category, then I’ve no doubts that Arabian Sands belongs to … Continue reading

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