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V-a-c-a-t-i-o-n: Cautionary Tales of Travelling without Style [Paperback]

Oliver Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sarsen Press (22 Dec 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189760937X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897609378
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14.6 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Have you ever: hitch-hiked? been ski-ing? been camping? travelled by train? been on a Weekend Break? been on a package holiday? been on a school exchange? been on a boating holiday? had a disastrous holiday? Then you should enjoy "V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N", Oliver Gray's memoir of a lifetime spent travelling without style.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
People are starting to say that travel writing is the new rock 'n' roll, but if that's the case then all I've been hearing is 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' and the third Van Der Graaf Generator album.
Why is travelling no longer just a case of getting from A to B without anything bad happening? Why does every journey from Waterloo to Forest Hill now have to be framed as a 'spiritual quest'? What is it with people who can't go further than Calais without being overcome with a sudden longing for a life of rustic simplicity and a plate of oven-baked goats testicles?
Well I don't know, but maybe Oliver Gray does.
His latest book, V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N., features various tales of travelling without style, there's at least one tornado, a couple of school exchanges and a handful of German lesbians.
So what's the difference between this and Bill Bryson? Well, for Oliver Gray, these things had to be survived. Unlike Bryson, Gray went through these things in real-time, not seeking them out under the guise of research or taking a wrong turn in the hope of a higher advance. No. Our hero went to some places and some stuff happened. And this is why it's hilarious.
It's generally agreed that all the best comedy is observational, but are current crop of laugh-a-minute jet-set scribblers really observing your life? I for one have never crossed Lapland in a Model T Ford, and if you're honest, nor have you. Package holidays? Yes. Camping in France? Yes. Drunken children? Yes. East Kilbride? Not even I've gone that far.
So what we have here is a book about travelling that all us Joe Public's can get a handle on, there's no sunset induced navel-gazing or embarrassing treatise on the dualism of poverty and the spiritual world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A friend from the UK gave it to me for Xmas. "Something to read on your long flight back to California," he said.
So I started reading at takeoff but the time on the plane wasn't long enough to read to the last page.
I almost missed the dinner and breakfast that was served during the flight because I couldn't stop reading.
With every new page, I was reminded how my vacations went, doing the same things that Oliver did:
Camping and Hitchhiking through Europe. All the old memories - good and bad - came flooding back.
Another part of the book, the section on school trips, made me re-live that part of my own live in bright colors.
Something else Oliver writes about is a vacation on a small canal boat.
That is something I've never done before, but now I have to do it, it sounded so nice and cozy.
Even if there are some 'natural' obstacles in the way.
Oliver's foreign experiences described in his book are surely the highlight.
Who doesn't want to go to the - dangerous and crocodile infested - USA?
Or to an isolated island that has (so far) seen only a few tourists?
You have to read it yourself. You'll be at your nearest travel agent the next morning.
Overall this is a book that everyone should read, either to get back some good old memories
of how your previous vacations went, or to give you some good ideas where to go next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. is just the most refreshing travel read I've come across. It's all of our journeys, holidays, breaks, trips and visits combined and healthily lacks any brochure gloss or travel agent's sales pitch rubbish. I read Volume by Mr. Gray previously and this is the travel equivalent - it's what normal people see, hear, smell and encounter on holiday. The author recounts his efforts at ensuring holidays are kept off the beaten track for himself and his family by not subscribing to what the adverts dictate we should be doing come August - sure it doesn't always go to plan but I've seen 'Holidays from Hell' on TV and know that for most of us it's often the same.
Embarrasingly, it made me laugh out loud on the tube (not the done thing as we know) and having V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. in my bag made me look forward to commuting to London - can you get a better recommendation?
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