The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America Paperback – 2 Jan 1999
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A travelogue by Bill Bryson is as close to a sure thing as funny books get. The Lost Continent is no exception. Following an urge to rediscover his youth (he should know better), the author leaves his native Des Moines, Iowa, in a journey that takes him across 38 states. Lucky for us, he brought a notebook.
With a razor wit and a kind heart, Bryson serves up a colourful tale of boredom, kitsch, and beauty when you least expect it. Gentler elements aside, The Lost Continent is an amusing book. Here's Bryson on the women of his native state: "I will say this, however--and it's a strange, strange thing--the teenaged daughters of these fat women are always utterly delectable ... I don't know what it is that happens to them, but it must be awful to marry one of those nubile cuties knowing that there is a time bomb ticking away in her that will at some unknown date make her bloat out into something huge and grotesque, presumably all of a sudden and without much notice, like a self- inflating raft from which the pin has been yanked."
Yes, Bill, but be honest: what do you really think? --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"High-spirited... hilarious" (Observer)
"Hilarious... he can be suave, sarcastic and very funny... not your typical travel writer" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Funny as this wonderful book is, it is also a serious indictment of the American way of life and the direction in which it is going... he is genuinely shocked, as we are, by the statistics of affluence, poverty, crime and culture that he drops in hither and thither" (Irish Times)
"A very funny performance, littered with wonderful lines and memorable images" (Literary Review)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Lost Continent is a very entertaining book anyway, but Kerry Shale brings the characters Bill meets to life. Take the Mississippi policeman Bill meets at some traffic lights. 'Yawwwwwwwwnnnn vaycayshun...? How'd'y'laaaaak Misuppy?' the cop asks. Bill has to ask him three times to repeat himself because he simply doesn't understand the outsize drawl the man has. Finally, he thanks the cop profusely for his patience and drives off, pondering the wisdom of giving such dangerously stupid people a gun and squad car...
Alongside these straightforward amusing vignettes, he does still make a lot of interesting observations about small-town America. He even lets on some of his secrets for saving money. When visiting Historic Williamsburg, don't drive up the main driveway cos that'll only cost money. Just drive round the back and you can get in for free...
Packed full of humour, observations and tips, this is ideal for listening to in the car, especially with Kerry Shale's inimitable voice. You'll find yourself imitating some of his best lines to yourself, and wondering how on earth they sound so much funnier when he says them!
For those who have ever travelled outside of the cities in the U.S., and witnessed the social mix which is as varied as the weather across this vast land, this will sate your appetite for a definitive view of American culture. Bryson sees what is now, and with subtle yet hilarious use of personal reflection and historical counterpoint manages to capture the essence of his America.
Excellent cadence, depth and colour. There is a little of him in all of us, and he knows well how to reach it. A beatifully sublime book.
It appeared on the bookshelves unannounced some time ago.
It slowly began to gain momentum for Bryson purely on the strength of the quality writing and it's apparent new style.
It became a massive seller, as have many of his subsequent books.
Before Bryson travel books were DULL and polarised.
Byson took the shine off the glossy travel books and created a new type of writing - maybe REALITY travel writing?!
For those of you who went on cheap holidays, and visited poor `attractions` as a kid, this re-lives it all.
It's about America, but there are so many similarities in the UK. When something is c**p he tells it like it is; when it's quality, he also gives praise.
Brysons offerings since have been variable - now he knows he has an audience to please.
Many writers have tried to follow him; some more successful than others. Don't forget Bryson was there first.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bill Bryson continues to delight with his wicked sense of humor whilst disparaging his fellow Americans unmercifully. He really is top of his class.Published 4 days ago by Michael W.
This is when I got to know Bill Bryson what seems like an age ago. This book was serialised on BBC radio and made me laugh out loud. So original.Published 1 month ago by Decast42