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Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe [Paperback]

Bill Bryson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 1998
Bryson brings his unique brand of humour 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.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (1 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385257562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385257565
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,021,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1951. Settled in England for many years, he moved to America with his wife and four children for a few years ,but has since returned to live in the UK. His bestselling travel books include The Lost Continent, Notes From a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and Down Under. His acclaimed work of popular science, A Short History of Nearly Everything, won the Aventis Prize and the Descartes Prize, and was the biggest selling non-fiction book of the decade in the UK.

Photography © Julian J

Product Description


"A breezy and entertaining account of what it is like to be utterly at sea in a continent most of his readers will regard as familiar" (Independent on Sunday)

"Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny, but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry funny)" (Daily Telegraph)

"Undoubtedly the most enjoyable travel book of the year" (Time Out)

"This is the travel book that every Inter-Rail vagrant would love to write; the Animal House of the genre" (New Statesman) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Bill Bryson's second, achingly funny book, retracing his own steps as a student backpacking through Europe, twenty years later. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
IN WINTER, Hammerfest is a thirty-hour ride by bus from Oslo, though why anyone would want to go there in winter is a question worth considering. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Bryson does Europe" as only Bryson can.. 21 April 2003
By Darren Simons TOP 500 REVIEWER
I'd heard all the hype about Bill Bryson being the best travel writer of the current generation so I figured I should read some of his stuff to make my own opinion. The first Bryson book I bought was this one and in all probability (at time of writing) I think it's my favourite. Bryson is an American who settled in Britain in the late 70s (and has since returned to the US).
The basic style of a Bryson book is simple - get a train to a place, wander around aimlessly, check into an average hotel, wander round a bit more, sit in a pub on your own and go to bed. And yes, many people will say that's all there is to a Bryson book. I'd have to disagree with that though - what makes this book is the humour.. a strange combination of British sarcasm and American expectation make Bryson's commentary on the places he visits and the people he sees really rather good.
In this book Bryson decides it's high time he ventured beyond Britain and visited as much of Europe as he can. To this end, he starts in Norway although he manages to visit when it's permanently dark, returns to England before venturing away on a longer trip, taking in Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rome, Florence (probably the funniest part of the book for me), before travelling further south-east towards Sofia and Istanbul.
If you're only going to read one Bill Bryson travel book, I'd probably recommend this one. Yes, there may be better travel writers, there may be funnier writers, but in terms of humorous travel writers I think Bryson is probably the best (although Peter Moore may come close).
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated Maybe? 12 Aug 2008
Needing to clear some space on my bookshelves I have decided to reacquaint myself with Bill Bryson's travel books before Bookcrossing them.
This one was written in 1990, first published in 1992 and the edition on my bookshelf in 1998. I enjoyed reading this travelogue of his tour of some of the major cities of Europe, many of those mentioned which I have visited myself during the last forty years. Of those that I have not I think that Sofia in particular may well have changed beyond recognition, Eastern Europe having undergone the most changes in the last eighteen years.
Whilst one might not always agree with Bryson's viewpoint it is none the less an amusing read, though one must also accept that in some aspects it can seem very dated.
Certainly worth reading if you are at all interested in any of the places in Europe he writes about but remember it was written nearly twenty years ago now.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Often hysterically funny and quite acerbic 14 Dec 2005
Format:Audio CD
Bryson isn't your typical travel author. He makes an effort to describe the places he visits, but does so in broad strokes. It's like an impressionist painting more than any attempt at detailed realism. He spends 1/3 of his time on the history of the places he visits and it's contemporary reality, 1/3 of his time on what sees and experiences, and 1/3 of his time on how he interprets what he sees as a confused foreigner.
For example, Bryson often goes on at length about the architecture of a building he loves or hates. He'll then describe when such building was erected and how it has been treated over the years since. Then ruminate briefly on how he can't understand the host nation's predeliction for building carparks so as to most efficently despoil an area's natural beauty. He'll finish up by wondering how such perverse actions are the nature of humanity.
Bryson writes with incredible ease, an incredible self-deprecating humor, a lust for travel and new adventures, and an overall wonder of the world around him. You get the impression he's just happy to be alive and could write with joy regarding his most recent attempt to buy chewing gum.
Some people Bill Bryson obnoxious and offensive. But if you like sarcastic and droll humor you'll love Neither Here Nor There.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rolling stone gathers no moss 14 July 1997
By A Customer
This book was a good read. I felt as if I shared in Bryson's romp around Europe retracing his teenage interrail trip of the early 70's. I also
felt that he had many incisive comments and insights. I laughed out loud on the subway at the many scenes that were so hilariously described.
Bryson has succeeded in taking the bar-room story into book form where he is the teller. Unfortunately, the book does suffer from its on superficiality. By the turn of the last few pages, were Bryson says: "I sat trapped.. listening to my idly prattling mind and wished that I could just get up and walk out on myself"? One realizes that throughout the book, Bryson has never genuinely interacted with the people on his trip. He sees the characters he meets as pawns for his cultural comments and one-liners. He travels with the air of superiority that is a legacy of the Baedecker days where "foreigners" (i.e. the locals) are reduced to servents and characters in a play. The country and culture becomes a stage, all performed for the sojourner's benefit where the entrance fee is reserved seat on a train purchased by AmEx. I enjoyed the book, but Bryson's open embrace for this form of whirlwind-travel leaves it a bit empty in the end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I was introduced to Bill Bryson many years ago when a friend of mine gave me this book to read. From the first page, I found myself chuckling away. It is honestly the funniest and most entertaining book I have ever read (and I read a lot).

Bill Bryson is an unconventional travel writer, who intertwines his wit and humour into all of his travel tomes.

I would recommend this book to everyone who wants a laugh. It is one of these books I re-read at least twice a year.

My only wish is that Bill Bryson would write more humourous travel books/stories - of late, his writings have become more conservative.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Laugh aloud funny!
Published 1 day ago by John
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bill Bryson
Not the best Bill Bryson. Rather disjointed and dated, as many of the countries visited have changed a lot recently.
Published 6 days ago by Mrs E A Jarvis
4.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed when it was
A very well written, witty and informative book. I was disappointed when it was over
Published 11 days ago by Jackie M
4.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary language.
Bryson is a witty and acute observer, I would give the book 5 stars but for the completely unnecssary foul expletives that he uses. Read more
Published 14 days ago by julian
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
usual great read,
Published 19 days ago by Vulcanalia
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read
As entertaining as always, Bill Bryson takes us on a trip around Europe.
Published 22 days ago by Ms. A. Pugh
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper than doing it for real!
Thanks to Bill Bryson, I have taken a trip around Europe without leaving my comfy sofa or dealing with the inevitable struggle to find vegetarian food. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Mrs. Judy S. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read in crowded places
had me laughing out loud on a crowded train. Definately a book for the 'Brit abroad'
Published 1 month ago by Charles Clowes
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic
Another thoroughly amusing book by one of the only writers who makes me laugh out loud. I so wish he published more often..
Published 1 month ago by D. L. Hine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read
Published 1 month ago by J Josephs
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