Previous Convictions: Assignments From Here and There
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...more
The domestic articles include one on Glastonbury and one on father-son relationships but for the most part are about traditional outdoor activities - stalking, shooting and golf. A.A. Gill writes about these subjects with a lot of humour, unaffected opinion and a remarkable ...more
Gill is frustrating in that when he's on, he's pretty readable, and when he's phoning it in it's plainly obvious. There's a couple of clangers in here that read with all the verve of a sodden phone-book, but they're offset in the pieces that work.
It seems t ...more
More uneven than some of his other collections but even hit-and-miss Gill is worth a read. Some of the essays, like "Dog" or "Las Vegas" are spectacular, while others falter a bit. The premise is "here" and "there," "there" being travelogues from various locations. One, entitled "New York" has absolutely nothing to do with the city - its about gyms, and its a stretch to include it in that framework.
The pieces that work best are the "funny ones," where Gill's trademark biting wi ...more
Really loved this book of travel stories and observations. Gills style of writing takes a little bit of getting used to at the beginning, it's dense, and a little ostentatious, pummelling away like a deep tissue masseur who has recently won a local award, so enthusiastic for his trade he is.
But we settled down together, Mr Gill and I and he got less intense and loquacious and I stopped noticing when he over did it.
He observes and then gives you his opinion. Your possible disagre ...more
One of his great lines as an example
"Nostalgia is the waiting rom of history"
Pros: excellent quality of the writing, as well as being funny and using just the right analogies and cultural references.
Cons: first 1/3 of the book consists of miscellaneous essays (filler) not related to travel, which largely failed to hold my attention; nor could I get into the two or three travel essays featuring his rather boorish associate, Jeremy.
Buy the book.