A lot of sterling reviews for this book and I guess for the genre it is well done. The scientific background and information was certainly interesting but the story, sadly, was predictable. Well read, though, by Rob Shapiro who handles the accents well.
I had no advance knowledge of this book except that it was an award winner. And deservedly so, although I didn't full appreciate until the end, and as I had the book on my mind for several days, how well-earned were the kudos. It was a bit slow off the dime, and although one suspects something is about to be afoot, as they say, it is easy to get lulled into a certain rhythm. In retrospect this leisurely introduction to the characters and the story adds an element of reality so that when the true adventure begins to unfold the reader is easily lead into what might otherwise seem a preposterous proposition. There are many levels to this story and many interpretations. I have my own and others have theirs. A reader can delve as deep as they wish with this one.
Outside of P.G. Wodehouse I haven't spent much time on comic novels. This time I am so glad I did. Well written and so well read. Bravo to Barrett Whitener. He hit the perfect note.He conjured up the character just as you might imagine him. Not only was it a great listen, I plan to listen again.
I fear my poor efforts will not, alas, do justice to this fine tome. At the beginning, upon realizing it was over 25 hours of listening, I grew skeptical that my interest could be sustained. But shortly into the tale I grew faint with anticipation to continue. I found myself foregoing the modern entertainments, the talking boxes and even the boxes with forms that move. Excellence on every level was the reward for my perseverance. The only possible negative consequence of my efforts might be the change in my speech patterns but I hardly, upon reflection, truly consider that a negative. Huzzah!!! Huzzah!!!! I say.
Maybe I should have checked more carefully.The title, "Dark Tourist," made me think of exotic places and primitive accomodations, lots of danger, etc. As presented by the author, however, the "Dark Tourist" is one who visits some uncommon destinations (Iran) and some not so uncommon (USA) and stays in hotels with modern accomodations, some better than others. This was my first disappointment.
The author made his name with a low-brow British hidden camera/prank series that became well known in many countries. My second disappointment was that his humor, just like his tv show, is at the expense of others. Towards the end of the book he takes a few swipes at the Brits and makes an attempt at self-deprecation, but that really isn't his thing.And by then I had grown to have no sympathy for him or his viewpoint so it was too little, too late.
I only finished the book so I could see how condescending and unfunny he could possibly be. Here's an example of his arrogance: While visiting Korea he notices that there are commercials for detergents that do not leave residue. He muses at so many commercials devoted to a "nonexistent problem." Without inquring or researching the issue he decides that these businesses (run by people not as sophistaced as he no doubt) are foolish enough to spend money advertising an unneeded benefit.Well, if one lives in a country without the lavish water supply to which we are so accustomed, there is skin-irritating detergent residue which results from the inability to rinse clothes freely.A simple Google search cold have enlightened the author.
His reading is okay. He tries to do accents but does not do them well. An unintended benefit from his reading (which I had to put on the slowest setting on my Ipod) and the boring content of the book was that every time I listened while lying down I fell immediately asleep. It was better than a sleeping pill.
All in all, this is a "humorous" travel book with little humor. There is little human interest, excitement, cultural enlightenment or anything else one looks for in a travel book. This was a waste of time and a perfectly good Audible Credit.
This is the best I've rented to date.
I love true adventure and this was the genre at its best--excitement and humor with some touching moments thrown in. You can't beat it.
The reader was excellent and had a charming Aussie accent.
In one vignette the author relates an experience where he chanced getting closer to an elephant herd than he should have. Later he relates watching the birth in the wild of an elephant out of this same herd. These interactions were exciting and moving.
Well done and bravo.
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