In Ethiopia With a Mule Paperback – 28 Nov 1994
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One of the supreme virtues of Dervla Murphy as a travel writer is that she is human. She needs her drink; she craves her cigarettes; she is capable of losing her temper; she smuggles things through customs. A more virtuous figure would be far less endearing. (Daily Telegraph)
Dervla Murphy must be top of the intrepid class: conventional travel writers seem impossibly pallid by contrast. (Financial Times)
An admirable woman ... She has a romantic soul and a keen eye (Times Literary Supplement)
Dervla Murphy's credentials are more than a brave heart and strong calf muscles ... the fruit of these mature wanderings for my money puts her among the select travel writers of the last two decades. (Observer)
Murphy's observation is acute, her self-effacement is disarming (Sunday Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A most intrepid travel writer goes on a perilous solo trek through distant and harsh Ethiopian lands. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In the Prologue, she quotes Edward Gibbon on Ethiopia: "Encompassed on all sides by the enemies of their religion, the Ethiopians slept near a thousand years, forgetful of the world by whom they were forgotten." And that is precisely the "charm" of Ethiopia for the traveler, if not the residents. It is quite different from all the surrounding countries, and, like Burma, in many ways an immense open-air museum. In the highland area of the country, the elevation ranges between 6,000 and 15,000 ft, overall a salubrious climate. She started her journey in the Red Sea port of Massawah, in what is now Eritrea. She did take a truck up to the highlands, and supplemented her walking with a plane ride and a journey in a Land Rover. She covered all the core sites of historical interest in the highlands, which include the steles at Aksum, the former capital of Gondar, Lake Tana, which is the headwaters of the Blue Nile, and Lalibela, with their famous churches carved out of solid rock.Read more ›
Murphy's trip is a bold endevour - she sets off each day with the mule, and with no idea of where she will stay. Most nights she arranges accomodation with people she comes across, and depends on them to help her load the mule next day. This made me think hard too: most of the people she stayed with were very poor, and sharing thier meal with Murphy can not have been easy for them. But then maybe she offered cash even though she doesn't mention it - and then again, as she points out, at that time, cash meant little in most of the places she visited.
Anyway, it made me think, and provided an insight into the culture and circumstances of rural Ethiopia - at least at in the '60s.
In terms of history and descritions of places this is a light weight book that describes the Timkat festival in less tha 2 pages and hardly mentions Axum and Lalibela.
Having recently returned from Ethiopia one seriously wonders if the author ever stepped foot in Ethiopia at all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really enjoy Dervla Murphy's books. I am also a traveller but not so intrepid as she is. An excellent readPublished 11 months ago by phf