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Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist Paperback – 22 Feb 2001
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Tim Moore's first book, Frost on My Moustache had one reviewer setting him up as a "contender for Bill Bryson's crown as king of comic travels". That successful debut is now followed with this offering--a journey in the style of Byronesque "Grand Tours" of Europe. Travelling in a clapped-out Rolls Royce, Moore follows the trail of the first recognised British tourist of Europe, a 17th-century pastor's son named Thomas Coryate.
There is certainly something of Bill Bryson in Moore's style, and this book is reminiscent of Neither Here Nor There. He cracks similar slapstick quips and travels with a liberal dose of self-irony. His jokes are frequently brilliantly judged and have you laughing out loud.
Moore writes moving passages about Coryate and his ultimately tragic story, yet, in spite of its undoubted merits, Continental Drifter turns into something of a disappointment. By the end--perhaps because the first 100 pages are so good--it feels as though Moore could have done with a more severe editor. The book drags through the second half, when Moore's comic timing diminishes along with his enthusiasm for the journey--and I'm not just saying that because he coins "toby" as a new word for sewage. --Toby Green
There won't be a funnier or more original contender until Tim Moore publishes his next volume ... There hasn't been such a fresh voice among itinerant writers since Redmond O'Hanlon or Bill Bryson got started (SPECTATOR)
Regularly had me laughing out loud (SUNDAY TIMES)
His is a rare comic talent, and his debut a brilliantly sustained piece of travel writing (THE TIMES)
One of the funniest travelogues you will ever read (EXPRESS)
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Top Customer Reviews
Having to put the book down after the final page was a thoroughly depressing experience but if you fancy a chuckle which I suspect Tim Moore would share why not check the American reviews (amazon.com) where a couple of readers awarded a miserable 2 stars citing him as "an out of shape curmudgeon" and as being surprisingly difficult to comprehend despite an appreciation of Dickens .... cannon fodder for the next book I reckon!
The structure creaks audibly in places, and some sections are overly formulaic examples of his sense of humour. That may have struck me more than other readers here as I was reading it out loud to someone else 20 pages a night or so. With Frost we were often reduced to giggling uncontrollably at each other - not with this.
The best bit is Venice IMO.
It'd be nice if he came back to it and gave it a good rewrite one day - if you're reading Tim, do you feel this was too rushed?
Having said that, I'll definitely get whatever else he writes as he's always good value.
Perhaps Moore really did just whip round Europe and write it up as he went. If he wrote notes and embroidered them when he came back a bit more background reading first would have made this a stunning book.
I'd just been to Venice when I read Continental Drifter, and found the bit on this city frustratingly short, and thin on background. To say the least I don't write as wittily, but I knew enough about Venice to have written this after the first 2 days there. And this was the feeling I had for most of the book. I enjoyed reading it, but was glad to get to the end.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Laugh,I thought I'd never start. Gave up halfway. I'd rather watch paint stay wetPublished 2 months ago by victor meldrew and then some
Not as gripping as his previous book, Frost on my moustache. But written in the same inimitable style.Published 4 months ago by Pyknyk
This is my second Tim Moore book I have read after reading his book on travelling around unloved Britain and this book for me does not live up to that one. Read morePublished on 7 May 2013 by Miss L. Andrews
I loved this book! It was very hard not continuously laughing out loud. You really felt you were alongside Tim Moore on his travels. Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2012 by charlotte morgan
Tim Moore takes the reader on his variant on the Grand Tour....a well worn theme - however he certainly puts his own mark on it. Read morePublished on 8 Mar. 2012 by The Dunkirk Spirit
This was the first Tim Moore I'd read, and it will be the last. I can't believe I'm going to be the the only one-star review so far. Read morePublished on 22 Aug. 2009 by A. L. Kerr-phillips