Redshirt Knitting's Reviews > Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe

Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson
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's review
Mar 23, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in March, 2011

I listened to the audiobook, which was my undoing in the end. I was blown away by Bryson - a very workaday sort of author - going all Proustian with the flashbacks and flashforwards. He would visit Prague as an adult, which would kick off a passage about visiting Italy as a callous young man, back and forth like this through time.

It was a commentary on the nature of travel and getting older, and on the ability of "where you are" to remind you of "who you used to be." A staggering work of subtlety, and from such an unlikely source.

If some of the transitions were a little rough, well, I just chalked that up to the limitations of the audiobook format. You can't hear chapter breaks, or passages separated by a few extra line breaks, that sort of thing.

Then when I was syncing my iPod I discovered the truth. ITunes had neatly shuffled all the files. Instead of listening to it like:

Chapter 1 Part 1
Chapter 1 Part 2
Chapter 1 Part 3 (etc)

My iPod played it to me like:

Chapter 1 Part 1
Chapter 2 Part 1
Chapter 3 Part 1

I fell in love with a book that never existed. Also, it seems that William Burroughs was right.

Can I recommend this book? Only if you read it completely out of order.
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