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Saturday, November 21, 2015


A must for all anglophiles, this is a delightful read - thought-provoking, entertaining and highly amusing. (Review by Keith Millar)

I have long been a massive fan of the travel writing of Bill Bryson. His books are superbly insightful, beautifully descriptive and, most of all, delightfully funny. Bryson has a marvellously refined and razor sharp wit, and has the ability to find humour in almost any situation.

The result is books which are hugely engaging and entertaining. This statement is backed up by the worldwide success he has achieved as an author of books on travel, science and the English language. Also by the fact that he is the writer of what is the best-selling travel book of all time.

The book in question is Notes from a Small Island. Written 20 years ago it is about Bryson’s irreverent jaunt around Britain sussing out the heritage, the history, the scenic beauty and the ludicrous and the endearing eccentricities that make the island country great.

Being a bit of an anglophile, I loved it. So the recent publication of a sequel, beguilingly entitled The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island, was, for me, excellent and exciting news.

Having now read the book I can confirm that it is every bit as entertaining, captivating and absorbing as its predecessor.

Bill Bryson was born in the US but has made England his home. He has a deep and enduring love for the land and its people. In fact, he recently became a British citizen and it is with these sentiments that he observes and writes about the country and communicates his great concern for the preservation of its heritage.

In The Road to Little Dribbling, Bryson uses mostly public transport to travel from Bognor Regis on the south coast of England to Cape Wrath, the northernmost point of Scotland. Along the way he visits as many rural villages, cities, heritage sites historical buildings and national parks as he can. He seeks out interesting and unique locations such as old buildings, pubs and hotels.

As an avid hiker, Bryson never misses the opportunity to follow an interesting path and he spends much time walking many kilometres through Britain’s beautiful landscapes, which he describes with passion and wonder. He appeals for the preservation of this scenic grandeur which he says is unmatched in the rest of the world.

Bryson has become grouchier with age and he is not slow to point out what is wrong with the country, and to complain about issues such as the destruction of the legacy of the past by iniquitous modern expansion and development. However, his rants are not without insight and wisdom and are usually delivered with an element of humour.

The Road to Little Dribbling is a delightful read. It is thought-provoking, entertaining and most of all highly amusing. It is a must for all anglophiles, but would also be enjoyed by those who enjoy good travel literature. Or, in fact, by anyone who likes a good laugh. It would make an attractive addition to any Christmas stocking.

The Road to Little Dribbling is published by Transworld Publishers. ISBN 978 0 8575 2234 4. Recommended retail price R330. – Keith Millar