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Continental Drifter:
Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist

by Tim Moore

ISBN 0349114196 / 9780349114194 / 0-349-11419-6
Publisher Abacus
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

Tim Moore's first book, Frost on My Moustache had one reviewer setting him up as a "contender for Bill Bryson's crown as king of comic travels". That successful debut is now followed with this offering--a journey in the style of Byronesque "Grand Tours" of Europe. Travelling in a clapped-out Rolls Royce, Moore follows the trail of the first recognised British tourist of Europe, a 17th-century pastor's son named Thomas Coryate.

There is certainly something of Bill Bryson in Moore's style, and this book is reminiscent of Neither Here Nor There. He cracks similar slapstick quips and travels with a liberal dose of self-irony. His jokes are frequently brilliantly judged and have you laughing out loud.

Moore writes moving passages about Coryate and his ultimately tragic story, yet, in spite of its undoubted merits, Continental Drifter turns into something of a disappointment. By the end--perhaps because the first 100 pages are so good--it feels as though Moore could have done with a more severe editor. The book drags through the second half, when Moore's comic timing diminishes along with his enthusiasm for the journey--and I'm not just saying that because he coins "toby" as a new word for sewage. --Toby Green [via]