2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Sad book by a sad person,
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This review is from: Paddling to Jerusalem: An Aquatic Tour of Our Small Country (Paperback)
I've not much liked David Aaronovitch's writing, though he is clearly a clever bloke with a nice turn of phrase. I bought this because I, like him, have developed a mid-life interest in kayaking and thought it might be fun to do a grand tour in a canoe of some sort. But though I didn't like this book much either, I have a lot more sympathy towards him.
What comes through really strongly, though I am sure unintentionally, is the depth of the author's self-loathing. He writes almost lovingly about his own fat, his bad parenting, and bad husbanding. He self-declaredly set out to write a cheerful book about how nice England is (in contrast to all the nasty books being written by 'people called Nick') but he self-evidently fails - he doesn't like the England he finds very much at all, though every so often he tries to sprinkle some positive fairy dust over his account. He doesn't like the architecture or the interior design, he doesn't like the feral proles, he doesn't like such embourgeoisment as he finds.
Along the way we learn about the shattered relationships that underlie his birth family, and might also underlie his self-hatred. For me, it's hard not to wonder whether his role in the auto-destruction of the Communist Party in this country was an act of revenge, conscious or otherwise, towards the parents who dedicated their lives to th party. Just a thought, of course.