In Search of the English Eccentric Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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'A lovely, heartfelt paean to English eccentrics, by a member of the tribe. A funny, timely and moving encounter with a dying breed.' (Jon Ronson)
The new Michael Palin (Tatler)
'Hemming keeps up a stream of comic patter' (Guardian)
'Hilarious' (Daily Mail)
'Hemming makes some good points' (Sunday Telegraph/ Seven)
'Hemming is a kindly collector and a champion of people who live as they see fit' (Metro)
'Highly entertaining' (Traveller)
'Intelligent and encouraging' (TLS)
Hemming makes a convincing case for the ways in which eccentrics benefit any society or era (Financial Times)
'If nothing else this book confirms the old adage "there's nothing so strange as folk" (Folkestone Herald & Dover Express)
'Entertaining and thought-provoking ... Hemming unearths a surprisingly large array of delightfully odd characters' (Cambridge Evening News)
A witty anthropological journey in search of the quintessential English eccentric.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike a travel book, however, this is not a list of people or places to see. The book is carefully structured around themes and introduces us to characters who fail to meet the definition of eccentric as well as to those who come out triumphant. Questioning the concept of eccentric leads Hemming into provocative terrain regarding the relationship between eccentricity, madness, perversion and creativity.
Creativity is clearly a theme close to the heart of the author, who is an artist of his own right. Each chapter is illustrated with etchings made by Hemming in the manner of a 19th century botanist. And the narrative is peppered with metaphor, creating unexpected images at every page turn. The book also reads like theatre in parts, full of carefully recorded dialogue between Hemming and his subjects.
In short, this is a playful book with an entertaining approach to serious and well researched questions about the relationship of individuals to society. I highly recommend it.
I must confess that I didn't want to finish reading this book because I was enjoying it so much, especially the more modern/well known characters such as Sebastian Horsley, Dame Vivienne Westwood and unfortunately Pete Docherty. It's with huge admiration for Hemmings' foreberance in dealing with such a difficult character as Docherty, who, to be honest does seem to deserve the tabloids' opinion of him. Special mention must be made of the exquisite line drawings which evoke a great deal of insight into the various eccentrics he meets.
In conclusion: a fantastic book, I loved it - recommended to anyone who enjoys the stranger aspects of daily life.
I felt that it was not only very thorough, covering an expanse of interesting characters, but it was both witty and engaging.
Frankly, I was a bit sad when I finished!
I have just ordered another book by Hemming and I look forward to starting it.
What I like most is the writer's completely non-judgemental approach to the people he encounters and his genuine enthusiasm towards the subject area. The book also asks questions about what it means to be eccentric in the modern world and how the term has evolved over time.
A wonderful scattering of drawings throughout the book help to depict each character, making their presence ever more visceral and alive.
Highly recommended reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An interesting book a lot of work went into this it was an enjoyable readPublished 15 months ago by C. F. E. Boldero
I'm featured in the book as one of the Eccentrics - who swims in the Serpentine all year round - so of course I enjoyed reading it!Published on 4 July 2009 by Telefoto
Why did I like this book?
Roster of lively characters. Loveable puppy of an
inquisitor. Stunning panorama of a curious contemporary England. Read more