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Heel To Toe Hardcover – 30 May 2002

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Secker (30 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436250993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436250996
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,546,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Funny, peevish, heretical... this book has the toughness of a classic survivor.' Jonathan Keates, Observer 'Between Two Seas is the next best thing to going and finding out for yourself. And when you go take this book with you.' Scotland on Sunday 'Lister is propulsively rude, violently English, misanthropic and bitterly articulate.' Sunday Times

Book Description

A completely original, abrasive, learned account of a journey through the extraordinary, forgotten land at the foot of Italy - from Brindisi to Reggio at the very foot of the country.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am surprised at the stinging criticism from one of the reviewers here. I came across this book after it was recommended in the "Rough Guide to Italy" books section. I have a passion for the country but as yet have never visited the South of the country, an area that gets much attention from the more prosperous north as being a money pit full of feckless people. It has however provided some of the finest travel writing I have come across in Norman Douglas' "Old Calabria" and George Gissing's "By the Ionian Sea." In fact I only became aware of these books recently after reading Tim Parks' most recent book. I came across this book afterwards and read it in comparison with the two books above.

I would say that the author gives a lovely account of this part of Italy in a unique and mischievous voice. It might not be to the taste of everyone but the author knows his stuff and makes reference to the above authors in the text. Indeed the book compares well to the Douglas book as he too was a character. In some senses this book is even better than Douglas because we get a sense of place and people. Too often in "Old Calabria" is the reader forced to endure long dissertations (often taking up whole chapters) on something obscure that interests the author. In this respect the book is similar to Gissing (although that last author is much more earnest than) Mr Lister.

In summary then I would say that this is a worthy addition to the modern Italian travel literature with a little bit of humour thrown in. After all Italians are a humorous and lovely people in the main and any writer who fails to capture that in my opinion is not worth his salt.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book lying in bed recovering from a hip operation and as a rambling trip along the coast of southern Italy, this book is just delightful. There are other books about the larger cities and towns of Italy so if that is what you want, don't bother with this. If you want to know what it's like to travel about in the country side and meeting the people, such as the man in Otranto who gave Mr Lister his moped to continue his travels as he (the Italian) couldn't bear the thought of all that cycling, then this is the one for you. Mr Lister seems to have a very good understanding of the southern Italian psyche and what is important to the contadino (the people living on the land), who are the people he meets along the way. Mr Lister's descriptions of the country, the flora and smells was beguiling, and made me want to visit that part of Italy in particular. I absolutely recommend this book - but don't expect a travel guide!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this on a recommendation before going to Puglia. May appeal to fans of Bryson- lots of self deprecating jokes and and Englishman's wonder at "quaint" Italian ways but not a travel book.
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Format: Hardcover
If I was to ever sit adjacent to Charles Lister on a long distance flight, I would end myself. His commentry in this book is lengthy, digressive and inconsequential. The disregard for some of Southern Italty's great cities and sites are astounding. You're left with no feeling or depiction of Southern Italy. Just the ramblings of a man and his Thesaurus. Avoid.
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