Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

Paperback Black Swan

By (author) Bill Bryson

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  • Publisher: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 22mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 2 April 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0552998060
  • ISBN 13: 9780552998062
  • Sales rank: 4,491

Product description

Bill Bryson's first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither here Nor there he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hamemrfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before. Whether braving the homicidal motorists of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and eyeballs in a German restaurant, window-shopping in the sex shops of the Reeperbahn or disputing his hotel bill in Copenhagen, Bryson takes in the sights, dissects the culture and illuminates each place and person with his hilariously caustic observations. He even goes to Liechtenstein.

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Author information

Bill Bryson is much loved for his bestselling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, but Notes from a Small Island has earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart (a national poll for World Book Day in 2003 voted it the book that best represents Britain). His acclaimed A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. He has now returned to live in the UK with his wife and family.

Review quote

"A breezy and entertaining account of what it is like to be utterly at sea in a continent most of his readers will regard as familiar" Independent on Sunday "Hugely funny (not snigger-snigger funny, but great-big-belly-laugh-till-you-cry funny)" Daily Telegraph "Undoubtedly the most enjoyable travel book of the year" Time Out "This is the travel book that every Inter-Rail vagrant would love to write; the Animal House of the genre" New Statesman

Editorial reviews

Having groused his way across America in The Lost Continent (1989), Bryson (The Mother Tongue, 1990) now turns his attention to Europe. If it is any consolation to Americans, Bryson, an ex-midwesterner who has lived in England for the past 15 years, finds almost nothing to praise between the Arctic Circle and the Bosporus. Bryson's crankiness could have proved amusing - after all, Mark Twain's did in Innocents Abroad - but the humor here is meanspirited and juvenile (in Copenhagen, a hung-over Bryson notes that "I needed coffee the way Dan Quayle needs help with an I.Q. test"), with defecation, flatulence, and eructation far too often figuring into the comic repertoire. Nor do original insights abound as Bryson retraces the steps of a journey he took two decades before, traveling from Norway to Istanbul, stopping at many of Europe's capitals (Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, Rome, etc.) along the way. He offers such comments as: "Parisians are rude," "Swedes are heavy drinkers," and "the Swiss are dull and conventional." Consistency is not Bryson's strong suit either. While in Naples, for instance, he complains, "I found...mean, cavernous, semipaved alleyways with...washing hung like banners between balconies that never saw sunlight." Yet when he reaches modern and manicured Milan, he pines, "I wanted pandemonium and street life...washing hanging across the streets." Meanwhile, lines like "let's be frank, the Italians' technological contribution to humankind stopped with the pizza oven" are also no help. Smart-alecky and obvious, with the wit of Bryson's first two books curdled into waspishness. (Kirkus Reviews)