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Backpack Paperback – 1 Feb 2001

3.9 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; First Edition edition (1 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074726676X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747266761
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

It's New Year's Day and the year isn't kicking off well for Tansy: her mother's dead, she's a cocaine addict and her boyfriend has just left her. A trip around the world seems like the only option except that she's not interested in seeing the world, just escaping from it, and the last people she wants to hang out with are backpackers.

Like a lot of travellers on the Lonely-Planet-led Asian Grand Tour, Tansy is intensely irritating at first. Always on the look out for the "real" Vietnam--the one in which she can walk around "like a model, fanning myself gently, strolling into ancient temples and learning about inner peace"--she is opinionated, narrow-minded and remarkably naive (for a supposed media luvvy). Once she has shrugged off her addiction to lines of coke, skinny lattes and Nicole Fahri jumpers, she becomes more appealing. So by the time she's fallen for Max, a fellow traveller, she'll have won you over and you'll be just as worried as she is about the serial killer who appears to be on her trail.

Emily Barr is a former Westminster researcher who now writes for the Guardian and the Observer. Backpack is her first novel and, like Tansy, takes a while to find itself. City-girl pretensions jostle with shoestring-style travelogue and it is only when it hits full-throttle thriller mode that Barr's strength as a novelist becomes apparent. Be prepared for echoes of The Beach--hardly surprising given that Barr was an extra in the film. Also be prepared to get itchy feet--if nothing else, you'll be tempted to reach for that backpack and slap on the insect repellent.--Jane Honey

Review

'Barr's debut comes as a blast of fresh air' Sunday Express -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Sometimes travelling alone can be murder".... Backpack by Emily Barr opens with Tansy burying her Mother, the end of a lifetime of care that frees her up to leave her job and go travelling. Young Tansy is not a likeable character as she jets off to Vietnam, her demons plague the prose - alcoholism, drug-taking...you name it. To begin with she is a hugely self-referring character, critical of others, desultory about events, and just plain angry. It is, to be frank, a huge struggle to stick with her. But stick with her you should, because she takes her readers to all kinds of wonderful places on the backpacker trail, and introduces us to the obvious places like the Khao San Road in Bangkok, and amazing Lao and the Plain Jars (and what their purpose was, nobody knows) as well as China and Tibet. So, enjoy the read as she grapples with her sense of self in exotic surroundings, as the pathos builds with a rolling backstory of the murders of young women, all of whom bare a scary resemblance to her....
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Format: Paperback
"Backpack" ain't your typical travelogue and Tansy ain't your typical heroine. But beyond this sharp-tongued, foul-mouthed exterior is a deeply endearing protagonist who develops together with this wonderfully tongue-in-cheek book. Join cokehead Tansy as she comes to terms with her turbulent past, discovers Asia and flirts with death - both voluntarily and otherwise.
"Backpack" will make you question your own notions of tourism and colonialism. Did you know, for example, that Laos got bombed by the Americans every eight minutes every day for nine years?
Fantastically written, there are many observations that ring true to anyone who's ever been globetrotting - and many of Tansy's cynical comments regarding the institution of "backpacking" had me laughing out loud!
Add a chilling thriller into the equation and you've got one mindblowing read. And what a wicked twist!
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Format: Paperback
I have no idea why I picked this up. Maybe it was the sticker offering a round world ticket from Bridge the World, maybe it was the title. It certainly wasn't the jacket which was atrocious and did no justice to the intelligent writing of Emily Barr. I loved it. Like many of the other reviewers I have also been travelling but you tend to forget your first impressions of countries. I found it refreshing to read a description of Vietnam which evoked the other side of the country. Yes it is amazing to look out of train windows and see paddy fields and workers in conical hats but you are also driven insane by the cacophony of scooter horns and nothing evokes travelling for me more than the smell of drains and rotting vegetables! I would have been happy with a book revolving around her development as a person, I thought the sub plot of murders was intriguing but it didn't need to all tie up so neatly at the end. I get the feeling Emily Barr felt she ought to do that for the book to be a novel rather than a travelogue and to be honest I prefer the latter. Tansy was a refreshing change to the angst ridden Bridget Jones heroine, she reminded me of Katya in What Katya Did Next...published a few years ago and resulting from a column in the Melbourne Age.
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Format: Paperback
What struck me most about Backpack was how intelligent it was whilst being so entertaining, this book has a strong voice and makes you really identify with Tansy (despite how brilliantly screwed-up she is at the beginning of the book - very funny indeed). I know several people who have read it after or while they were travelling, who loved the travel aspects of it. It's not just travelogue, though, it's a page turningly good plot, with enough of an intelligent viewpoint on travellers, politics and human relationships to make it way more thought-provoking than the chick-lit style of the cover would have you believe.
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Format: Paperback
Once I started reading this book, I just couldn't stop. It was THAT good! I just had to keep reading to find out what happened! At first, Tansy was a real cow, especially when she was at her mum's funeral and in the plane on the way to Asia. But through the course of the book, she grows as a person, especially when she has to choose between her old boyfriend and her new lover. The other thing that made me want to read to the end was the murders. It was obvious that it had to all come back to Tansy, but I only worked out who the murderer actually was about ten pages before she found out. It still came as a bit of a shock though! Anyway, I reckon everyone should read this book, but what else I have to say is it makes you feel really bored at home. I'm dying to just go away and travel the world now!
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Format: Paperback
This is the first Emily Barr book I've read, so it took me a little while to get used to her style. It starts of jittery and jumpy, so isn't very easy to follow. But I think this is indicative of the character's mind and personality. It gets a easier to read. The characters grow and have many interesting dimensions.

The characters are realistic, they're interesting and there is an aray of personalities. It's very insightful to a living with an Alcoholic. This to be a very good and authentic description of what it's like having/living with a dysfunctional mother without getting too heavy about it. I guess some people will understand this aspect, if they don't it may be a little lost/weird for them.

The book reads very authentically and is very believable and you can really get into it (if you can bare with the jittery writing style!).

Love the characters. Love the description of emotions. Love the setting. The very articulate thoughts and descriptions. It's not only about romantic relationships, it's about 'travelling', about globalisation, culture, attitudes, family relations. It intelligently covers many topics, if only briefly on some.

Good fun read!
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