Narrow Dog To Carcassonne Paperback – 3 May 2006
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"A richly atmospheric journey suffused with summer heat and occasional cabin fever, reaching its climax on the flamingo-studded inland sea of the Camargue... The writing is as muscular and lean as its canine hero, conjuring up dawn mist or giant catfish in prose haiku before moving on to the next killer one-liner... A rich and winning comic debut, destined to become a classic of the downshifting genre" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A stunning book - racy, chatty, touching and very, very funny" (Joanna Lumley)
"The most amazing canal journey of them all" (Daily Mail)
"One of my favourite books of the year" (Emma Soames Saga Magazine)
"An astonishing read" (Libby Purves Radio 4 Midweek)
'We could bore ourselves to death, drink ourselves to death, or have a bit of an adventure...' When they retired, Terry and Monica Darlington decided to sail their canal narrow boat across the Channel and down to the Mediterranean, together with their whippet Jim. They took advice from experts, who said they would die, together with their whippet Jim. On the Phyllis May, you dive through six-foot waves in the Channel, are swept down the terrible Rhone, and fight for your life in a storm among the flamingos of the Camargue. You meet the French nobody meets - poets, captains, historians, drunks, bargees, men with guns, scholars, madmen - they all want to know the people on the painted boat and their narrow dog. You visit the France nobody knows - the backwaters of Flanders, the canals beneath Paris, the heavenly Yonne, the lost Burgundy Canal, the islands of the Saone, and the forbidden ways to the Mediterranean. Aliens, dicks, trolls, vandals, gongoozlers, killer fish and the walking dead all stand between our three innocents and their goal - many-towered Carcassonne.See all Product description
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A lot of people have mixed opinions about the prose style and punctuation of the Narrow Dog books, so I would strongly recommend looking at the free Amazon samples before purchase. They won't give much of the book away, and it will give you a good idea of whether or not you will like the style before purchasing the book. You'll know right away whether or not it is readable for you. If it's not, I wouldn't bother - I find that the rhythm and movement of the prose is at least 30% of the charm for me. It's definitely to my taste but I can't speak for yours.
I am a female university researcher in the 18-25 age bracket. However, I would warmly recommend this book to a variety of people, as it will have an appeal to several demographics. It will appeal to people who are interested in poetry (modern and classical), humorous travel writing, British humor, British travel, long-term relationships, dogs, boating, and misadventures. I would give this book as a gift to older family members, particularly when I wish to explain some of the culture of English boating. I would not give it to friends unless I was reasonably sure that it would match up with their prose style tastes. Darlington's writing is like Marmite - you'll love it or hate it. Both reactions are legitimate, but it saddens me to think that some people will buy the book for its content only to be turned off by the prose. So check it out first, and if you're buying it as a gift, consider the recipient's own tastes.
As a further recommendation alignment I would suggest that readers who enjoy H.E. Bates, Dorothy Sayers and Bill Bryson would probably get the most out of this book.
It didn't disappoint at all! Terry's unique style is a welcome diversion and turns this travelogue into a personal diary record. His disregard for the normal rules of punctuation, for me, add to rather than detract from the chuckle-making adventures. And lots of the anecdotes ring bells for me with other dog-owners and boat-owners. I have been emailing quotes all over the place. I can see 'Indian River' and 'Wigan Pier' following 'Carcassone' onto my bookshelf!