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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I first encountered A.A. Gill through his restaurant reviews in the Sunday Times, where he came across as a somewhat more cerebral alternative to the entertainingly bumptious Michael Winner. He seemed to be a good writer (he once used the adjective "insistent" in his description of a sauce, which I thought a deft touch), so I was pleased to be able to pick up this collection of essays in a remaindered bookshop a few weeks ago.

It's a nice set which ranges over a variety of topics in the "here" section, and some good travel pieces filed under "there". They're all easy to read, although sometimes their brevity leaves you wanting more (I thought his essays on Las Vegas and Haiti very good). And I still think he's a good stylist (though I wouldn't rate him, as one reviewer claims, one of the "best in Britain"). In particular, his description (p192) of a capable game ranger as "a man who can handle a hysterical couple from Dundee and a surprised hippo", had me smiling broadly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a collection of articles and essays by A.A. Gill from a period of about 20 years, covering everything from the Glastonbury festival, to beetles, to modern Haiti. They are, by and large, fairly short piecees, and many are very funny, so they make for entertaining little bursts of reading.

It is not, however, a book which I can enjoy reading for any length of time, and that can be put down to a number of reasons. It must be admitted, I accept, that Gill is an excellent prose stylist, but there is at times a slight glibness about the writing that suggests deep and meaningful insights, but they are never really developed or rewarded. The description is frequently masterful: Gill's evocation of the appalling squalor of Haiti is striking, but it often ends there. But these merits cannot carry the book as a whole.

For this book can never really be successful as a book, simply because of its origins. These are journalistic pieces, and must perforce lack the thoroughness and rigour of more literary writing, regardless of the panache of the prose. When Gill writes about his father's dementia (in what is a touching and thoughtful piece), the reader is offered no more than a brief vignette, with no more than a passing gesture towards the wider issues which the article raises.

So, a recommendation? For holiday reading, or to take on the train, this is a very good book. As a book itself, it is frustrating.
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on 12 December 2012
My brother put me onto this book . It is a very interesting and perceptive read. A A Gill's usage of the English language is as good as it gets.
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on 1 March 2015
Another lovely written collection from Mr Gill and his amanuensis. He is like a well informed guide taking us on his travels but is never scared to whisper the odd unsuitable or inappropriate comment along the way, just to assure you that he is pretty much on the same page as you.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you haven't read A A Gill do try him. He's a mate of Jeremy Clarkson and it shows in a number of the pieces here. Gill is direct, often impolite, frequently raw, and takes little account of received opinion on anything. Having said that, he's also shrewd, full of insight, humane, often very funny and, when appropriate, capable of exposing injustice or cant with devastating honesty and directness. He writes with immense style and great fluency. A pleasure to read.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2008
It's been said that if you've read one Gill article you've read them all...well the same holds true for his books it seems.
Mr Gill only has one technique for writing and unfortunately it becomes rather predictable after the first chapter or so.
I also find that he's not particularly funny unless you are 16 years of age and in the habit of wearing a baseball cap backwards.
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