There is something delightful about traveling with Michael Palin. You get the impression that nothing much upsets him and that he is going to be pretty happy no matter what. That makes his observations about travel easy and enjoyable to listen to. One suspects that there is not even a little angst in his psyche.
I found this book more interesting than Pole to Pole or Sahara, although I've enjoyed them all. You really can't go wrong with any of them, although I think this is the best of the lot.
Charmingly eccentric in an English sort of way. Palin is an astute observer and more whimsical than laugh out loud funny. It is nice to hear him read his own work and this book was time well spent.
This book is compelling in its description of a crazy quest to accomplish something that is ultimately not very meaningful; kayak down a wild river on the other side of the world. One is left with the feeling that the ultimate story was untold; an interesting, well meaning, and sensitive author trapped on an expedition with selfish, driven athletes. One gets hints of the real drama and resulting human dynamics of personal transformation, but too much is left unsaid. The expedition is interesting enough, but the real drama lingers as only hints in what would have otherwise been a profoundly fascinating story. Instead, it is good, but not great.
A truly fascinating and enjoyable book especially because it is read by the author who injects his own charm and wit into every story. He captures the joys of eccentricity, the charm of the south and the magic of the seashore. I'm hoping for volume 2!
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