Gerald Sinstadt's Reviews > At Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home by Bill Bryson
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's review
Mar 13, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction-general
Read from February 24 to March 11, 2011 — I own a copy

Oh yes, it is discursive, and yes it does frequently whizz off at a tangent with only the slightest pretext - but don't most of Bryson's books? As a travel writer, the author has taken us on various journeys while passing on the odd stories he picked up along the way. In At Home, he wanders in similar fashion round the rooms of a Norfolk vicarage, allowing each to prompt an essay on a more or less relevant theme.

There are many statistics, calling for pauses for consideration - or a swift skip on to the next paragraph. There are passages that Bryson might not care to have described as 'sermons' but nonetheless tend to make a moral point. There are the rewards for poking around in the nooks and crannies of remote sources of research. And for all the comments here to the contrary, there are chuckles and laughs, too.

This is a bran tub of a book. Some may be disappointed by the occasional handful of sawdust, but there are many unexpected rewards.
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