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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.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Never having watched Dom Joly's TV programmes, I did not know what to expect, but the premise of the book was interesting, and the author's voice is easy to listen to, so I downloaded version 4, for my old iPod nano 2nd generation, and was hooked straight away. I wasn't surprised to find out that the author's been a researcher for the political comedian/activist Mark Thomas: the same vein of absurdism.compassion, and refusal to toe the party line runs through their respective works. I found myself having to ration my listening, since I had a long train journey coming up, and, once at my holiday destination, I kept sneaking off for a quick listen, to find out what happened next. Particularly poignant for me were the chapters on skiing in Iran, and the visit to Chernobyl in Ukraine, as well as the return to Dom's childhood country, Lebanon. Dom Joly manages to find quirky humour in situations where there is little to be jolly about (did you know, for example, that Osama bin Laden attended an International Quaker boarding school?) I, for one, will be looking out for more of his books. Alternatively, If he wants to create The Dark Tourist volume 2, I'll happily buy that. There's always the Communist Statue park in Budapest, and the Island of Hawar, Bahrain's answer to the Maldives (not!) where visitors are forbidden to leave the hotel compound without authorisation, and the ?7-a-throw cappuccinos are made with Nescafe...
In short, if you're after a funny listen that will still have the power to make you think about the themes long after you've finished listening, this is a winner.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
Didn't know what to expect from Dom, never watched his tv shows as they don't appeal to me but this book is very, very good. It's a very honest, imformative yet entertaining read - he comes accross as a very likeable chap - intelligent and witty without the sillyness of his tv show. That's not to say it doesn't have its funny moments - it does, the bit where he is trapped in a lift had me in stiches! I am happy to recommend this book to anyone - take a chance on him - it's really good, hope he does another!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful