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Previous Convictions: Assignments from Here…

Previous Convictions: Assignments from Here and There

by A. A. Gill

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The first half of this book did not work for me at all it was rather boring. The second half proved why A.A. Gill is the best travel writer currently writing. All of the stories were top notch. ( )
  zmagic69 | May 18, 2014 |
There’s not much to say about this that I didn’t already say in my brief review of A.A. Gill Is Away. Gill is a travelling journalist (as opposed to a “travel writer”) who pens short articles that are both very funny and very serious. This compendium (which at least three separate people mistook for Bear Grylls’ autobiography; personally I think he more closely resembles Ralph Fiennes) sees him wandering around Glastonbury, reflecting on Edward Hopper, examining the wonderful contents of the Royal Geographic Society, seeing somebody murdered in the slums of Haiti, training to be a bush guide in South Africa, and much, much more. Each chapter is titled with a location, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a travel piece – ‘New York,’ for example, is about gyms:

The great misconception about gyms is that they’re palaces of vanity, theatres of self love, where the shallow preen and pump in front of ten-foot mirrors with devoted narcissism. Actually, it’s precisely the opposite. Gyms vibrate with self-loathing and doubt. The mirrors mock. People come because they’re disgusted by or frightened of their bodies. Going to a gym is an admission of failure. It’s the realisation that you’re not forever youthfully regenerating. Your body isn’t a temple to fun and fornication anymore; it’s a decrepit, leaky, condemned shell that is decomposing faster than you can shore it up.

Gill is one of the best, funniest, and most honest and most distinctively voiced journalists working today, and all his output is well worth reading. ( )
2 vote edgeworth | Jun 26, 2012 |
The second half of the book (writing from 'there') is very different from the first. Found they compliment each other well.The first is the angrier and more acerbic, and the second slightly more philosophical, though still entertaining. Highlights for me were the pieces on Golf, Exercise- which came under 'New York' and Capri. ( )
  mearso | Feb 1, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 141657249X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:22 -0400)

A book of travel essays, ranging from Gill's domestic locales of Glastonbury and the English countryside to Haiti, Guatemala, Pakistan and exotic, dangerous, downtown Manhattan. A book of travel essays, ranging from Gill's domestic locales of Glastonbury and the English countryside to Haiti, Guatemala, Pakistan and exotic, dangerous, downtown Manhattan.… (more)

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