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.
Reasonably entertaining and informative. I found myself interested in exploring some of the places Joly went, and admired his willingness to just jump in across a variety of cultures. As other reviewers have noted, I also noted his tendency to speak in disparaging ways of pretty well every culture including his own in an effort, I suppose, to be funny. That didn't bother me enough to stop listening. Joly's narration was problematic. He does a great job of narrating his own material, but someone needs to tell him that he should never, ever try to fake an American or Latino accent again. Come to think of it, he shouldn't try to narrate any voice but that of a middle-aged British guy. I found myself cringing at all the dialogue. This is one of those ones that I wish I'd read instead of hearing.
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 ....
While there were portions of this book which were interesting and-- indeed--funny, the lion's share of the work revealed the rantings of a man-child who had never quite grown out of his boarding-school humor. Joly may have done a fair bit of traveling, but it hasn't done away with his prejudices as Mark Twain theorized. There are far more interesting travelogues to unusual places than this.
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