Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson

I was already familiar with Bryson - He is incredibly prolific and has written interesting books about nearly everything (Shakespeare, trekking, his own childhood, history...) though his distinguishing feature is travel literature.

Here, he rambles across the American continent by car, missing out on only a dozen states. At the time of the book, he had already been living in England for a number of years, so by and large this is a rediscovery of the country he grew up in. 
Myself an expat, I can certainly relate to his bewilderment and irritation at finding how -  deceitfully! - the country has changed while he was away. You do feel sort of let down, though thankfully I'm not as irritated at Sweden as Bryson gets at the US.

His irritation, of course, is hilarious; laugh-out-loud-on-public-transport hilarious! 
All the more so as this is a fairly old book - 1989 - and young Bryson was, apparently, much less congenial and jovial than older Bryson, which was the one I had read before.
In scathing terms, he ruthlessly disapproves of modern America's ever-present consumerism (and the town names; Tapwater, Dead Squaw, Dunceville, Coleslaw, Colostomy...)
 
From now on, I am definitely sticking to younger Bryson!


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