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An engaging story, superbly narrated. ....... why oh why does this review have to be 25 characters!?
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Listening to 'Travels with a donkey' makes perfect holiday reading in that it makes one want to take off and travel just for the sake of it - to explore new places and meet new faces.
Robbert Louis Stevenson speakes lyrically of sleeping under the stars and watching the sun rise and set, the mummur of a stream or the song of birds and the sound of the wind through the trees or smoking a cigarette before setting off for a days trek through the woods and hills, south to the Cevennes with Modestine, his donkey and companion who was patient and, for the most part, a willing and uncomplaining companion.
This is 1878 before the train cut through this area of mountain pass and the head waters of major rivers, with few roads and isolated hamlets and a notable Trappist monastery. Stevenson records and reminisces about the people and places he meets and about the history of the religious struggle between the Protestants and Catholics in this region. Time has moved on, it is more than a century ago but much of the beauty and majesty of this region has remained unchanged.
It is remarkable that despite all his adventures on his 12-day journey of 120 miles from Monastier-sur-Gazelle in the Haute-Loire to St Jean-du-Gard in the Cevennes it is Modestine, his long-suffering donkey who remains the most vivid character of this story. He surprises himself by how he misses he when he is on the stagecoach to Ales, but I think he had found the perfect travelling companion.
Dennis Lawson has a fine Scottish burr to add character to the narrative, but at times it is difficult to understand his French, but that could be because I am unfamiliar with the place names or my French or ear is poor.