Kingdom by the Sea (Essential Modern Classics) (Collins Modern Classics)

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Kingdom by the Sea (Essential Modern Classics) (Collins Modern Classics)

Kingdom by the Sea (Essential Modern Classics) (Collins Modern Classics)

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This, certainly, was one of the most wonderful gifts of my life, and remains a favorite of a genre to which I am now addicted. He then travels roughly clockwise round the British coastline, mainly by train, getting as far north as Cape Wrath. Like the three girl bathers who were walking up the beach towards him, chattering and laughing and feebly hitting each other with wet towels.

She concluded that the British economy cannot prosper by mining coal, manufacturing products at high costs in their factories, and trade unions ruling the roost. Theroux also casually throws in the phrase that he didn't want to get "duffled," a phrase he himself coined in the Railway Bazaar. And then, during the last 2 weeks of his journey around Britain, there was a rail strike and he became dependent on bus and hitch-hiking to get around. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites.

And on the other side, these shabby angry bossy people… full of whining self-pity for what *they* had suffered. The beginning on the south and west of England is slow at times, but the section on Northern Ireland was amazing, and Scotland and east England continue. Although we have a few hotels - perhaps 15 or 20 outside London - that are as good as any in the world, they are also extremely expensive, and the general level of low-budget accommodation is unspeakable.

A further theme of sorts is added by the coincidence that, throughout, his journey was constantly interrupted by news of the Falklands War being fought at the other end of the world. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. I read to my class as I had the only book - this allowed me to be selective and stick to the main story. As for the English, I could spot his hidden affection for them, but he drowns it in his biting observations. It was not a question of seismic shocks, but rather a steadier kind of erosion -- like the seemingly changeless and consoling tide, in which there was always, in its push and pull, slightly more loss than gain.People who know, even very perfunctorily, the locations Theroux is visiting will enjoy The Kingdom by the Sea much more: half of the pleasure of reading it is stomping your feet and shouting bloody idiot, it's not like that AT ALL at the book. Clearly, the poor boy goes through an awful time and it absolutely demonstrates the horrors of the war, but I just couldn't sympathise with him at all. Then at the end he finds out that they're not and they put him down for running away because he was in shock and being safe and healthy while they were in the hospital in an air raid. After eleven years living as an American in London, Paul Theroux set out to travel clockwise round the coast and find out what Britain and the British are really like. Harry is bombed out, loses his entire family, and rather than be taken in by smothering Cousin Elsie he strikes out on his own.

This book provokes a lot of negative reactions: I can see why, though as a non-native I don't share the outrage. The sun warmed his hands as they lay on the sand, and his knees under his trousers, and in a very tiny world, it was nice, nice, nice. The white faces of the Humphreys, who lived at number five, peered palely from the door of their shelter. I have, happily, managed to put my hands on the review I wrote when I first read this book in 1992, and here 'tis.

But the moment he turned his steps towards home, the truth came back to him; the burning pile of bricks. The blurb talks of humour - I found none, unless sarcasm and condescension can be described as humour (and while tastes are different across the Atlantic, base sarcasm doesn't seem to be any more a form of acceptable humour there than it is in Britain).

I would have given this one three stars but for the ending, which kind of defeated the rest of the book for me. I could relate intimately to the pivotal character - with his youthful perspective on the world and people around him. Margaret Thatcher, the then prime minister, decided that life cannot continue to be what it was for the British. That was all Harry had time to notice; he had his own job; the two objects laid ready in the chair by the door. it was a mystery to me why no one had ever come to Britain and written about its discomforts and natives and entertainments and unintelligible dialets.Apparently it was common practice for people, on this train, to throw their finished newspapers out of the window as there would be somebody along the line to pick them up and read them. He should be hearing their footsteps any second now, the patter of Mam’s shoes and the crunch of Dad’s hobnailed boots. What starts out as a fairly conventional love story finishes as a ghost tale, blending the horror of war with the sepulchral chill of the supernatural. Paul Theroux had written several travel/train books, including The Great Railway Bazaar, before he decided to learn more about Great Britain, the country in which he had been living for the past 10 years. One of my favourite parts of the book was his journey on the post bus through Sutherland where he experiences rural life up close.

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