Two stars for the two good chapters,
This review is from: On the Shores of the Mediterranean (Picador Books) (Paperback)
Eric Newby was one of those writers who didn't improve with age. His early material was very, very good and made his reputation, but his later work was largely generic stuff which failed to match his earlier standard. Compare and contrast, say, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush with Round Ireland in Low Gear. Written in the 1980s, this book is one of the later efforts - a travelogue in which he and his wife countries which lie on the Med, and the `eccentric Englishman abroad' persona that Newby made his own is very much to the fore. A couple of the chapters are very good, and it so happens that they are the ones in which the Newbys went off the beaten track into countries that were very much closed to foreigners at the time - namely Communist Albania and Colonel Gaddafi's Libya. However, much of the rest is fairly derivative, and the overall effect is not so much a travelogue as a collection of essays wrapped around a central theme. There's never enough space for all of my books in our little flat, so I fear that this one may be on its way to the charity shop the next time I decide to purge my bookshelves.
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Initial post: 28 Nov 2013 08:53:01 GMT
I couldn't agree more, I first read "The Last Grain Race" in the early 70's and enjoyed it so much I proceeded to avidly read all his books, but then I started to wonder if his stuff really was as good, I bought "Round Ireland in Low Gear" and thought it dreadful, I haven't kept any of his books since. So many writers are like this, Le Carre wrote the Smileys novels, brilliant but nothing since and the one about Chechnya ( I can't even remember the title!) was utter rubbish. Freddie Forsyth the same, Odessa File, Day of the Jackal, Dogs of War superb but nothing since. I suppose it's only human nature to want to keep the pot boiling?
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