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Previous Convictions: Assignments from Here and Thereby A A Gill
Synopses & Reviews
Critic, essayist and cultural savant A.A. Gill is probably the most widely read columnist in Britain. His books The Angry Island and A.A. Gill is away have found delighted fans in America as well, and sparked a loyal following.
His new book of travel essays, Previous Convictions, ranges from Gill's nearby domestic locales of Glastonbury and the English countryside to Haiti, Guatemala, Pakistan and exotic, dangerous, downtown Manhattan. In this collection of notes from the corners of the globe, and sometimes from the edge of sanity, he confesses about his travels far and wide, "The more I see of the world, the less I think I understand. Familiarity breeds even more astonishment. The world just gets wider and deeper and weirder."
These pieces are wickedly funny, sometimes pointedly — even purposely — critical of many cultures and traditions, and always edifying and enchanting. As an adventurer and as a writer, Gill never disappoints; while he may take others to task for their customs, habits, idiosyncrasies and plain bad taste, his own indefatigable curiosity keeps him going back again and again for more, and provides us with spectacular entertainment along the way.
"In this boisterous, profane and unfortunately lopsided travelogue, British author and columnist Gill (The Angry Island) unleashes caustic opinions from 32 spots, both 'Here' (the UK) and 'There' (everywhere else). From Haiti to Oman, Brazil to Vietnam, Gill's vivid, vigorous prose-especially in his uproarious verb choices-enchants and enthralls. The author's powers of description are also keen, transporting readers to the 'brilliant, benighted, argumentative, inspiring' Calcutta, as well as the 'stamped on, bitten, battered and clawed' post-war Baghdad. At times Gill becomes preachy ('Travel should question, not confirm'), and occasionally offensive ('What's in it for female suicide bombers? The promise of seventy adolescent virgin blokes?'), but he also educates from the less-traveled corners of the world (Pakistan, Sudan, Greenland and others), albeit with a guilty sense of awareness. As a whole, Gill is far more interesting when reporting from 'There,' demanding careful attention from an international audience; dispatches from 'Here,' though they may appeal to a British audience, don't quite measure up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
A. A. Gill was born in Edinburgh. He is the award-winning TV and restaurant critic for the Sunday Times and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. He lives in London and spends much of his year traveling.
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