The wonderful first novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sleeper and The Sisterhood.
It's New Year's Day and the year isn't kicking off well for Tansy: her mother's dead, she's a cocaine addict and her boyfriend has just left her. A trip around the world seems like the only option except that she's not interested in seeing the world, just escaping from it, and the last people she wants to hang out with are backpackers.
Like a lot of travellers on the Lonely-Planet-led Asian Grand Tour, Tansy is intensely irritating at first. Always on the look out for the "real" Vietnam--the one in which she can walk around "like a model, fanning myself gently, strolling into ancient temples and learning about inner peace"--she is opinionated, narrow-minded and remarkably naive (for a supposed media luvvy). Once she has shrugged off her addiction to lines of coke, skinny lattes and Nicole Fahri jumpers, she becomes more appealing. So by the time she's fallen for Max, a fellow traveller, she'll have won you over and you'll be just as worried as she is about the serial killer who appears to be on her trail.
Emily Barr has written columns and travel pieces for the Observer and the Guardian for several years, and her previous novels have all been critically acclaimed. She lives in Cornwall with her husband and three children.
©2001 Emily Barr (P)2014 Audible Studios
While I was not sure in the beginning if I wanted to continue, the narration by Emmy Fenney was Brilliant!! I became totally absorbed by Tanzey and her adventure while not wholly believable it was storytelling at its best, I laughed at times and shrugged at times but what kept me going was the voice of both the author and the narrator, Loved it because of her narration, she is terrific and should narrate more books.
Tanzey's growing awareness of herself as an independent person, not the daughter, not the girlfriend, not the party girl but her inner self being comfortable with herself, I think there are a lot of lessons in the book for young people.
Her voice is Great, I cannot believe there is not another book she has narrated, she showed range, depth, phrasing and she kept me coming back to it, Do More books!!!
"A solid 4 star listen - enjoyable."
For me, it was hearing about Tansy as she travelled the world. In essence she is seeking an escape from her life in the UK and the fact that she is not the stereotypical travelling kind of person ensured this captured her cynicism perfectly! Lightly humorous and good expression in the narrators voice.
The backpack travels were told with subtle humour and I found the moments when Tansy encountered over travellers kept this story feeling fresh.
Tansy - without a doubt. This is her story and I loved seeing how much she changed over the course of her travels.
No probably not. I listened to this over several days and it was great to get little chunks of the backpack experience.
A solid narration of a very good book. A solid 4 star - perhaps not setting the world alight but a really great story to get into and some nice moments of humour.
"What is the genre?"
I enjoyed Backpack. It is a bit confused though. Is it a voyage of self-discovery? A romance? A crime novel? Initially the main character came across as shallow and self-centred to the extent that I wondered why anyone liked her. However she improved on deeper acquaintance and was clearly trying to come to terms with her past difficulties. These difficulties were extreme and once this became clear it seemed a miracle that she was as grounded as she was. Also, given the traumatic nature of her past, her character could have been explored more thoroughly.
"Not extremely impressed"
Not extremely impressed :/ slightly disappointed about the story line.
Did not particularly enjoy it I have to say.
The book description leads you to believe that this character develops but the whole book is about a totally self absorbed person... I kept waiting for some tension to develop but it left me flat. The 'twist' was obvious and unbelievable. Not what I'd been led to expect of this author.
Anything and everything, could not relate to this book.
Add more depth to the characters.
I don't think I will be trying another Emily Barr.
"Great Story, Great Narration!"
Having read/listened to other books by Emily Barr, I had no qualms in using my monthly credit to download 'Backpack'. I found out that 'Backpack' is one of Emily Barr's early books; in fact I believe it is her first, and as I am familiar with her style and plot choices in later books, I did see the main reveal at the end of the book coming. However, it is still a great story and there were other smaller surprises along the way.
The author creates an honest and tangible description of Asia and the main character, Tansy, starts off quite hateful (yet some of her comments are laugh out loud funny) but she really goes on a "journey" ending the story as a much more enlightened and balanced young woman. I loved the narration and thought that Emma Fenney was fantastic at conveying pace and emotion and her accents for different characters were pretty darn good too! All around an excellent listen!
I read this on my first round the world trip so it has special memories for me. I enjoyed the audible version, it also transported me away from grey oppresive London to the energy and life of a holiday in Asia.
"Guessing till the End"
I didn't even even guess that it was him. Great writing once again by this brilliant author. Will read more.
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