The Dark Tourist

  • by Dom Joly
  • Narrated by Dom Joly
  • 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Funny and Insightful - Not just for Travelers!

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.
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- Amanda "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."

The Title Leads One to Expect More

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.
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- S. Acuff

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-05-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios