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Backpack Paperback – Jan 2002

62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Plume Books (Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452282934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452282933
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,858,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emily Barr is the well-loved and bestselling author of BACKPACK, the original backpacking novel, and many other highly acclaimed novels. A former journalist, she has travelled around the world and written columns and travel pieces for the Observer and the Guardian. After living in France, Emily and her husband (whom she met backpacking) have settled in Cornwall with their three children. For more information on Emily Barr visit her website www.emilybarr.com.

Product Description

Amazon Review

It's New Year's Day and the year isn't kicking off well for Tansy: her mother's dead, she's a cocaine addict and her boyfriend has just left her. A trip around the world seems like the only option except that she's not interested in seeing the world, just escaping from it, and the last people she wants to hang out with are backpackers.

Like a lot of travellers on the Lonely-Planet-led Asian Grand Tour, Tansy is intensely irritating at first. Always on the look out for the "real" Vietnam--the one in which she can walk around "like a model, fanning myself gently, strolling into ancient temples and learning about inner peace"--she is opinionated, narrow-minded and remarkably naive (for a supposed media luvvy). Once she has shrugged off her addiction to lines of coke, skinny lattes and Nicole Fahri jumpers, she becomes more appealing. So by the time she's fallen for Max, a fellow traveller, she'll have won you over and you'll be just as worried as she is about the serial killer who appears to be on her trail.

Emily Barr is a former Westminster researcher who now writes for the Guardian and the Observer. Backpack is her first novel and, like Tansy, takes a while to find itself. City-girl pretensions jostle with shoestring-style travelogue and it is only when it hits full-throttle thriller mode that Barr's strength as a novelist becomes apparent. Be prepared for echoes of The Beach--hardly surprising given that Barr was an extra in the film. Also be prepared to get itchy feet--if nothing else, you'll be tempted to reach for that backpack and slap on the insect repellent.--Jane Honey --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

'Barr's debut comes as a blast of fresh air' Sunday Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
On the day we buried my mother, I deduce, I have poisoned myself with alcohol and drugs, and woken up in the hospital. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I have no idea why I picked this up. Maybe it was the sticker offering a round world ticket from Bridge the World, maybe it was the title. It certainly wasn't the jacket which was atrocious and did no justice to the intelligent writing of Emily Barr. I loved it. Like many of the other reviewers I have also been travelling but you tend to forget your first impressions of countries. I found it refreshing to read a description of Vietnam which evoked the other side of the country. Yes it is amazing to look out of train windows and see paddy fields and workers in conical hats but you are also driven insane by the cacophony of scooter horns and nothing evokes travelling for me more than the smell of drains and rotting vegetables! I would have been happy with a book revolving around her development as a person, I thought the sub plot of murders was intriguing but it didn't need to all tie up so neatly at the end. I get the feeling Emily Barr felt she ought to do that for the book to be a novel rather than a travelogue and to be honest I prefer the latter. Tansy was a refreshing change to the angst ridden Bridget Jones heroine, she reminded me of Katya in What Katya Did Next...published a few years ago and resulting from a column in the Melbourne Age.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
What struck me most about Backpack was how intelligent it was whilst being so entertaining, this book has a strong voice and makes you really identify with Tansy (despite how brilliantly screwed-up she is at the beginning of the book - very funny indeed). I know several people who have read it after or while they were travelling, who loved the travel aspects of it. It's not just travelogue, though, it's a page turningly good plot, with enough of an intelligent viewpoint on travellers, politics and human relationships to make it way more thought-provoking than the chick-lit style of the cover would have you believe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 July 2001
Format: Paperback
Once I started reading this book, I just couldn't stop. It was THAT good! I just had to keep reading to find out what happened! At first, Tansy was a real cow, especially when she was at her mum's funeral and in the plane on the way to Asia. But through the course of the book, she grows as a person, especially when she has to choose between her old boyfriend and her new lover. The other thing that made me want to read to the end was the murders. It was obvious that it had to all come back to Tansy, but I only worked out who the murderer actually was about ten pages before she found out. It still came as a bit of a shock though! Anyway, I reckon everyone should read this book, but what else I have to say is it makes you feel really bored at home. I'm dying to just go away and travel the world now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica O'Shea on 6 April 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the first Emily Barr book I've read, so it took me a little while to get used to her style. It starts of jittery and jumpy, so isn't very easy to follow. But I think this is indicative of the character's mind and personality. It gets a easier to read. The characters grow and have many interesting dimensions.

The characters are realistic, they're interesting and there is an aray of personalities. It's very insightful to a living with an Alcoholic. This to be a very good and authentic description of what it's like having/living with a dysfunctional mother without getting too heavy about it. I guess some people will understand this aspect, if they don't it may be a little lost/weird for them.

The book reads very authentically and is very believable and you can really get into it (if you can bare with the jittery writing style!).

Love the characters. Love the description of emotions. Love the setting. The very articulate thoughts and descriptions. It's not only about romantic relationships, it's about 'travelling', about globalisation, culture, attitudes, family relations. It intelligently covers many topics, if only briefly on some.

Good fun read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 April 2002
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book, clever and well written. i do have to agree the end was somewhat sickly sweet but don't we all love happy endings?! Laugh out loud funny in places but very very gripping throughout. i read it from start to finish in 5 hours!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! What a refreshing change! There are so many books which do the 'journey to being a better person' thing in some way or another but this was so different. I didn't like Tansy one little bit at the start of the book - she was pretentious, rude and full of herself. Her arrival in Vietnam was quite amusing because I thought 'ha, you deserve to be shocked' and I pretty much expected the remainder of the book to be variations on that theme. How wrong I was! She was a wonderfully well drawn character and Barr's skill at turning your feelings for her around was second to none. The pace was perfect - just as Tansy got settled in a place, in a situation, she would be relocated or there would be a twist. There was always that feeling of dread where the serial killer was concerned - you always knew that she would come up against him eventually and 'that knife' was always in the back of your mind.
I agree with previous reviews that the cover was dreadful. It told nothing of the wonderful book inside and is probably the only thing that let it down for me.
Can't wait for the next one so... Ms Barr... if you're out there please get writing!
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