Thursday, August 28, 2014

Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

Notes from a Small Island is Bill Bryson's account of travelling around the UK for a couple of months in the early 1990's, just before he returned to live in the US after living in the UK for 20 years. He wanted to recall all those things that had made the country special to him during that time and to take stock of the public and private faces of the people who lived there.

Beginning with a retrospective look at Bryson's first trip to the UK, 20 years earlier, his recollection of arriving in Dover offers such an interesting perspective of a time and a place which no longer exists now and nor did it, even in the 1990's. When his new sojourn begins his observations of Britishness and the things that make the place unusual, are crisp, clear, precise, amusing and cleverly insightful. He draws a picture of those things that we, as Brit's, so often overlook and take for granted, things that make us uniquely us.

I first read this book a few of years after it was originally published in 1995 and loved it, especially as I was living away from the UK at the time. It was a delightful read and had me laughing-out-load in places. Revisiting it again, over fifteen years later, was no less entertaining. This travelogue offers a rare insight into a country and it's people in time. It provides wonderfully clear and expansive descriptions of it's various places. It is an entertaining and humorous account and a joy to read. Even though the years may have rolled on it is clear that some things just don't change. Notes from a Small Island really is a timeless read.


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