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

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 called 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. Frequently, his jokes are brilliantly judged and have you laughing out loud. But unlike Bryson, Moore can make gaffes of taste, and some readers may find the gags about car crash victims and murdered Kosovan families beyond the pale.This is a very funny book in places, and 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 is a good 60 pages too long and begins to drag in 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 GreenRead More

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  • Amazon

    Most people associate the Grand Tour with the baggy-shirted Byrons of its 19th-century heyday, but someone did it first and Thomas Coryate, author of arguably the first piece of pure travel writing, 'Crudities', was that man. Tim Moore retraces the Jacobean hero's footsteps - in a Rolls Royce.

  • 0349114196
  • 9780349114194
  • Tim Moore
  • 2 May 2002
  • Abacus
  • Paperback (Book)
  • 384
  • New edition

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