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AA Gill is Away by A. A. Gill
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AA Gill is Away

by A. A. Gill

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I first heard of A.A. Gill through his acerbic restaurant reviews so naturally I needed to read his travel tome "A.A. Gill is Away". Here Gill exercises his travel writing skills, covering places and events like the long delayed funeral of Haile Selassie, the "murder" of the Aral Sea and Gill even takes the time to write a script for a pornographic film shot in California, where he meets the legendary Ron Jeremy.

Sadly Mr Gill passed away a few years back so there will not be more books authored by him in the future but his oeuvre is as strong as anyone, and I'll certainly be reading anything of his that I can bet my grubby hands on. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Nov 27, 2018 |
This is a series of articles about AA Gill's travels around the world.
The stories range from extraordinary, bitter and funny depictions of parts of the world that are often little known, to rather better known areas observed just a bit differently.
The quality of the stories varies from 5 star to 3 star, but are almost always interesting. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
This is another book I used to flick through during the endless tedious hours at my bookstore job. AA Gill is a British columnist, ostensibly a travel writer, but not the kind with a tagline at the end which says "the writer was a guest of X Travel." Gill is as much a political and social writer as he is a travel writer, and this compendium of his columns for the Sunday Times ranges across topics from a Sudanese famine to the California pornography industry to one of the worst environmental disasters of all time - the drying up of the Aral Sea by Soviet agriculture. This one in particular struck me with its ending, because I've noticed at my current job how British journalism is typically incapable of wrapping up a story without some kind of neat ending:

A story like this, a story of such unremitting misery, ought to end with a candle of hope. There should be something to be done. Well, I'm sorry, but there isn't. Plenty of better men with clipboards and white Land Cruisers have been here to put it back together again, but they've retreated, dumbfounded and defeated.

Gill is notorious for his scathing criticism and "rapier wit," but in the prologue he says: "Like many writers who resort to humour, really, I want to be taken very, very seriously." He succeeds at both, with a distinctive writing style that's both funny and thought-provoking, and I definitely intend to buy his other books. ( )
1 vote edgeworth | Feb 26, 2012 |
I received this book for Christmas having never read Gill before. It is a collection of articles written for the Sunday Times and GQ magazine arranged geographically into chapters South, East, West & North.

I think the book started well with the articles on Africa - the one on Uganda was outstanding. Throughout he challenges the reader: we all know the problems faced by people of Africa but how much do we really care? Do we get up and actively do something or do we turn the page and read about something else? 'East' had an eye-opening chapter about Japan, a country I now realise I know very little about, and an excellent one about the Aral Sea highlighting an ecological disaster that very few people know about.

Towards the end of the book I began to get annoyed with Gill. He is scathing about the lifestyles of the wealthy in his articles on Milan and Monaco and points out that these lifestyles are about posing, parties and living the high life whilst, actually, the participants are lonely individuals who aren't really happy at all, despite their wealth. This brings me to my objection - Gill states in his introduction that he wanted to 'interview places', that's fine but in doing so he has watched the people and formed his own judgements without out appearing to speak to these people. Does he look at them and decide that they can't be intelligent or happy or that they're all the same - try speaking to them, they might surprise you!

I liked this book and enjoyed Gill's writing and humour. The whole point of journalism is to inform and spark debate. Simply not liking him because you don't agree with his views or background is missing the point. I didn't agree with everything he wrote but it certainly got me thinking. ( )
1 vote tortoisebook | Jun 12, 2011 |
This book is a must, dry, funny and the chapter thats starts with Japanese toilets is classic!! ( )
  zmagic69 | Mar 13, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743276671, Paperback)

A. A. Gill is one of the most feared writers in London, noted--according to the New York Times--for his "rapier wit." Some even consider the mere assignment of a subject to Gill a hostile act. But when the notice "AA GILL IS AWAY" runs in the Sunday Times of London, the city can rest peacefully in the knowledge that the writer is off traveling.

"My editor asked me what I wanted from journalism and I said the first thing that came into my head--I'd like to interview places. To treat a place as if it were a person, to go and listen to it, ask it questions, observe it the way you would interview a politician or a pop star," Gill writes.

Upon his return, readers are treated to an account of his vacations to places like famine-stricken Sudan, the pornography studios of California's San Fernando Valley, the dying Aral Sea or the seedy parts of Kaliningrad.

The result is one of the most fascinating, stylish and irreverent collections of travel writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"A. A. Gill is one of the most feared writers in London, noted - according to the New York Times - for his "rapier wit." Some even consider the mere assignment of a subject to Gill a hostile act. But when the notice "A. A. Gill Is Away" runs in the Sunday Times of London, the city can rest peacefully in the knowledge that the writer is off traveling." "Upon his return, readers are treated to an account of his vacations to places like famine-stricken Sudan, the pornography studios of California's San Fernando Valley, the dying Aral Sea or the seedy parts of Kaliningrad. The result is one of the most stylish and irreverent collections of travel writing."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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