- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 26 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 11 Oct. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B009OXOMY4
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Michael Palin: New Europe Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
This book is a very enjoyable journey through the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. If you watch the accompanying TV series at the same time then it becomes even more enjoyable as the book contains material that the TV programme doesn't and vice versa.
On the one hand this book is really rather superficial. You never really get to know a great deal about any of the countries that Palin visits. This is made up for by some of the interesting places he goes to and people he meets. If you are after a detailed description of what Eastern Europe is like today and what the fall of Communism has mean't you won't find it here. What you will find is plenty of inspiration to go and have a look for yourself. I certainly now have a hankering for Budapest.
I've watched Palin's other TV series but this is the first time I've read one of his books. While it was very enjoyable I still can't get over a feeling of jealousy. I'd love to go to these places. This feeling is only compounded when he says something like "I meet my friend Misha who shows me round..." This last point is surely a criticism of myself rather than the book. Maybe I'll get round to visiting some more places in Eastern Europe later in my life.
The photos in the book are excellent and appear at least once every two pages.
The only big disappointment I have is that Palin deals with some countries only very briefly. I really wanted to know more about Slovakia and he never visited Belarus at all.
Overall this is a great book for getting away from your usual humdrum and travelling by proxy. It's a really enjoyable and easy read. Maybe I'll buy some of his other books and watch his previous series again.
"New Europe" sets new standards in travel writing, offering a healthy blend of irony and cynicism, and maintaining a fair balance between reality and imagination. Palin comes across as a seasoned traveller - cum - narrator, who is capable of adapting to the most austere of conditions and enjoying a conversation with people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. His descriptions of the meetings with the Mayor of Tirana and the Romanian shepherd - turned - millionaire convey a palpable frisson and are not readily forgotten.
In addition, the book contains a large number of well - chosen high - quality photos with equally engaging captions. It is only natural that the author should appear in many of them for, after all, this journey is part of his life.
Unlike the TV series, the book does justice to Eastern Europe, although the odd slight bias is inevitable. Furthermore, some of Palin's quintessentially English peculiarities, including his fascination with steam - engines, may have been misconstrued as prejudice by some East European readers.
Overall, this is an excellent book which has firmly established Palin as one of the most eminent present - day travel writers. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed Palin's previous works or, indeed, anyone who wants to learn more about East European countries and their rich cultural heritage.
There are few problems with a book. As I lived in "New Europe", I presume is the first one. There is not much new revealed to me, and I don't think only of ex-Yugoslavia, but also of Bolgaria, Romania and Baltic country, which I have not visited yet. Despite being 120+ days around, he did not manage to show countries in interesting ways, as he did for Brazil.
Second problem is repetitiveness, especially from political point of view. Too much time is spent on stories about ex-communist countries, what people think now, how they feel about changes, etc.
And the third one is that some countries receive very little attention. Serbia, for example, is presented only through Belghrade, and even that on very short level.
Not sure I will be continuing with his other travel books.
The beautiful photographs throughout the book are a wonderful enhancement to Michael's informative commentary. With close relatives in the Baltic States, I read that section carefully and found it highly accurate. This is a warm and sympathetic portrayal of our new European neighbours, which anyone who enjoyed the TV series would probably really appreciate. Michael Palin has defined himself as one of our great travel writers.
Most recent customer reviews
Palin just happens to visit places I have recently visited myself and thoroughly agree with his comments( on Croatia, the taste of...Read more