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.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
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.
"An OK read/listen"
Best: Some interesting insights into lesser visited places around the world. Funny in places.
Least: On occasion, a little too self-promotory.
Ending kind of petered out....underwhelmed (but then again, you wouldn't necessarily expect a big finish for this type of book).
This is my first listen to / read of Dom Joly.
Yes, given he's already done similar travel TV programmes. Dom Joly would obviously have to be the star!
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.
"Interesting insights to places around the world"
Don't expect much Trigger Happy buffoonery, but the basic premise is sufficiently trigger happy. Visit locations around the world affected by death, assassination and/or totalitarianism.
"loved it loved it !"
great stories and we'll travelled...makes we wish to travel to all of these places and have my own expereince of these dark but uplifting countries. Well done Mr Jolly.
"Dom Joly knows how to write and get the listener indulged!"
This book is for anyone who loves to listen to people's stories and tales. I for one could listen to anyone telling me about their past experiences and what they got up to.
Dom is one of those people and I have listened to this book now 3 times. The others are just a great, if you liked this ones then get listening to "Monsters and Super Creeps"......brilliant!!
"The Casual Arrogance of an Englishman Abroad"
It's not quite xenophobia, bigotry or racism, but there is a definite air of superiority that permeates this book.I had expected an exploration and celebration of the bizarre and hard-to-explain places that Dom Joly chose to visit, but instead we were given a list of complaints that were borderline snobbery, and didn't allow us to savour the experience.
I love the books of Jon Ronson. They embrace the weird and challenging situations that he discovers, and they absolutely revel in them. This book didn't do that at all. I always felt like I was a tourist, and always detached from the place.
I gave it two rather than one star because the tales are mildly interesting (although, I must say I was also a little underwhelmed by the choice of destinations).
"what an arsey bloke, for a 'travel' writer"
DJ tries so hard for wry & sardonic & all that clever stuff but Mark Thomas he isn't; middle-class middle-England arsey is how he presents.
There are some entertaining and of-interest sections & flashes but for me these were drowned by his stereotype-tastic ethnocentrism; lazy boy.
"my favourite book"
can listen to it over and over. great writing about interesting places brilliantly read by the author.
"Joly Good (sorry)"
Thankfully not funny in the main. I found it amusing and well written in the main. Could do with some repeats editing. Overall as good a travel book as I have read.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.