Ever since he can remember, Dom Joly has been fascinated by travel to odd places. In part, this stems from a childhood spent in war-torn Lebanon, where instead of swapping marbles in the schoolyard, he had a shrapnel collection - the schoolboy currency of Beirut. These early experiences left Dom with a profound loathing for the sanitized experiences of the modern-day travel industry and a taste for the darkest of places. And in this brilliantly odd and hilariously told travel memoir, Dom Joly sets out on a quest to visit those destinations from which the average tourist would, and should, run a mile.
Funny and frightening in equal measure, this is a uniquely bizarre and compelling travelogue from one of the most fearless and innovative comedians around.
©2010 Dom Joly (P)2011 Audible Ltd
I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it.
As an avid traveler, this book appealed to me as an opportunity to get a another person's point of view on some places I've never been. After reading the book however, I think anyone with a good sense of humor and curiosity would really enjoy this book.
Between being narrated by the author himself, and the auto-biographical nature of the subject, it's an extremely personal account of this smart, funny man's experiences. I found his insights clever and the experiences with the different individuals in each place were very true to the experience every traveler has when meeting up with people by chance on the road.
He paints a vivid picture of each spot he goes to; Iran (to ski!), the US (famous assassination locations and 9/11 sites) , the Ukraine (Chernobyl), North Korea (State organized tour) and Lebanon (his childhood home).
In each location, something strange, shocking, or unique happens; from being stuck in the elevator from hell and his insanely difficult way of extracting himself from it, to being on the same tour to Chernobyl as a man that has a very bizarre reaction to the site, to heading home to Lebanon only to find he may have attended private school with Osama Bin Laden. Every stop of this fantastic tour had it's own twists and turns, and I loved them all.
I was sorry when it was over, and hope for another book by the author soon.
I have traveled to over 70 countries myself and often wondered what it would be like to visit North Korea, Iran and some of the other places visit by Dom Joly. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good travel story.
Easy reading, great for a chuckle while waiting at the airport lounge for that overdue flight to finally board.
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.
Joly's encounters and descriptions with the natives; I literally bust out laughing and made more bookmarks with this book than any other, in order to share with people.
The last chapter, when he goes back to Lebanon. He became very introspective-
My favorite Audible purchase so far! I will listen this a few more times, i'm sure.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I love to travel and the author was able to paint a picture so that I felt that I was there with him. Travelling to "dark places" does seem to give one a new perspective of what really took place and what being a tourist is. Even though the places he travelled were full of angst, Dom was able to bring events by telling the history of the place compared to present day.
Bold Poignant Observations
We are all trying to live freely but some of us are more controlled than others. It was a revelation to see how some humans exert control over others, how others manage to find ways to circumvent the control system, how some people love to be part of the control system, and how some people died due to the control system.
This was the first time.
The visit to the Killing Fields in Cambodia. How tourists walked all over the bits and pieces of humanity.
Never heard of the author but found myself hating him more and more. Very judgmental and hypocritical. Down on everyone and everything unless he does it himself. Then it is ok. Mentions many people and things that he loathes. Maybe his fans like this. I find it grating and annoying. One of those people that complains about everything and everybody, but offers nothing themselves. Unless this book is his offering, because with all that being said, I must admit it kept me entertained for a drive from Pittsburgh to NJ. Didn't like him, but a good story. He is able to tell a good story and keep people interested.
Never listened before and probably not again.
Be more accepting of people
You would think someone that travels so much would be less stereotypical and take each person for who they are. He is very dismissive of groups of people as a whole. Would find it very interesting to travel where he has gone, but wouldn't want to go with him.
It was what we call in India 'time pass' reading.. no classic but easy to get through. I found the Iran bit too short and the US bit too long. The North Korean part was great ....
There are some funny stories here - and I think a different narrator would have brought this off better. Joly goes out of his way to inform the listener constantly that he only likes places if other tourists haven't "discovered" them yet, which gets a bit tiresome. Also anything to do with the USA, unless its in an eastern city that reminds him or Europe, is coarse, loud, fat and rude. Even when he's in other countries he seems to slip in an American visitor just to remind us how terrible THE US is.
"Amusing, engaging and thought-provoking"
Never having watched Dom Joly's TV programmes, I did not know what to expect, but the premise of the book was interesting, and the author's voice is easy to listen to, so I downloaded version 4, for my old iPod nano 2nd generation, and was hooked straight away. I wasn't surprised to find out that the author's been a researcher for the political comedian/activist Mark Thomas: the same vein of absurdism.compassion, and refusal to toe the party line runs through their respective works. I found myself having to ration my listening, since I had a long train journey coming up, and, once at my holiday destination, I kept sneaking off for a quick listen, to find out what happened next. Particularly poignant for me were the chapters on skiing in Iran, and the visit to Chernobyl in Ukraine, as well as the return to Dom's childhood country, Lebanon. Dom Joly manages to find quirky humour in situations where there is little to be jolly about (did you know, for example, that Osama bin Laden attended an International Quaker boarding school?) I, for one, will be looking out for more of his books. Alternatively, If he wants to create The Dark Tourist volume 2, I'll happily buy that. There's always the Communist Statue park in Budapest, and the Island of Hawar, Bahrain's answer to the Maldives (not!) where visitors are forbidden to leave the hotel compound without authorisation, and the ?7-a-throw cappuccinos are made with Nescafe...
In short, if you're after a funny listen that will still have the power to make you think about the themes long after you've finished listening, this is a winner.
"Download it now! You will not regret it!"
Didn't know what to expect from Dom, never watched his tv shows as they don't appeal to me but this book is very, very good. It's a very honest, imformative yet entertaining read - he comes accross as a very likeable chap - intelligent and witty without the sillyness of his tv show. That's not to say it doesn't have its funny moments - it does, the bit where he is trapped in a lift had me in stiches! I am happy to recommend this book to anyone - take a chance on him - it's really good, hope he does another!
Although well known for his madcap skits in the TV show ?Trigger Happy TV,? what I liked is that this book shows much more of the real Dom Joly.
Traveling the globe he seeks out areas where bad things have happened (a dark tourist,) at points on the time-line of history which have eventually shaped the course of our future.
You?re taken along on his travels, and get to share in his superb and absurdly brilliant observations, and devilish sarcasm. Along the way he employs his genuine ability to interview, and talk to a real variation of people that gives a good idea that he feels a moral duty to expose those who do, and have abused their power. All in all it feels like an honest, humble and very funny account of what he felt and saw along his journey. Great Listen.
"Interesting, funny and in places, laugh out loud."
I'm not a huge fan of Dom Joly, but this book had me laughing my head off as I walked to work. This is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to and I cannot recommend it enough. The situations he gets into are bizarre, sometimes surreal and very funny. Read by the author, his voice is perfect and his foreign accents add even more humour. A must listen audiobook!
I've really enjoyed listening to this in the car in the last week or so, it was interesting and laugh out loud funny at quite a few points.
If I was really being picky, I thought the last chapter on Lebanon was the weakest of the selection, it was nowhere near as interesting as the other countries. Not sure why. Which is curious given that the author says he is from there. So the book didn't finish completely on a high for me.
However I'd recommend it unreservedly.
After listening to Michael MacIntyre's "Life and Laughing", I found the opening to this audiobook extremely dry and humourless. I began to worry whether I had made a mistake in buying what I thought would be a funny book. After 20 minutes however, my fears were proved unwarranted.
What I love about this book is that it is split into manageable 40-60 minute chunks, which each provide you with a fantastic bed-time tale for grown-ups.
This book is not quite laugh-out-loud and it is not at all just boring informative tourist journalism; it finds a good balance between the two extremes, as an interesting, amusing dark tourism guide.
This book is brilliant. Interesting, funny and gripping, I could not stop listening. I think the section on Iran was probably my personal favourite but I thoroughly enjoyed it all. If you want to find out about different cultures or just want to have an entertaining read, this is definitely for you.
Didn't know what to expect. Great that Dom Joly narrated it too. Give it a go.
"an unexpected gem"
My first internet download of a book. I have downloaded books from CD's previously, but this was a new experience. A brilliant experience. The book was not only funny, it was entertaining, educational and thought provoking. Read in a chatty way, so wasn't slow and sleepy, like many, and kept the listener alert. The book gives insights to many well known places of sadness, which we all tend to visit when we are there. Strange how we all are drawn to something macabre.
Brilliant book for travellers. Gave it 10/10. Strongly recommended. Brilliant. Will now seriously consider other audible books.
"An excellent book for the armchair traveller"
I bought this book completely on impulse and I am very glad I did. Dom Joly is immediately engaging and interesting, and doesn't meander around a subject, choosing instead to get straight to the heart of the matter.
His travels to areas associated with death (hence the title) is at once darkly fascinating and he has a great gift for taking the listener along with him. His trip to North Korea and the endless stories of the 'Dear Leader's prowess in anything he tries (10 holes in one, right): how he finds himself in Chernobyl and realises he knows the layout of the town intimately because it was used as the map for an online first-person shooter game he used to play; and, of course, the wonderful, batty and sometimes deeply scary Americans he meets during his trip across the interior of that great land.
But it's not all laughs and fun, as his trip to Cambodia proves, with the unspeakable horrors of Pol-Pot and the Kmer Rouge still evident wherever he goes.
An excellent book and well worth a second listen
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