Written on: 21/07/2006 by degbert (120 reviews written)
A wonderful journey. More about life than just places, and utterly, painfully funny.
Don't read it as a travelog - you'll need a copy of lonely planet or whatever as well.
It was a sad day on 6th October 2004 when Pete McCarthy left this world; it would have been a delight to see him complete a hat-trick of books, laden with keen observations about people, places and life in general.
Both published books were effectively centred around him finding folk or things that took his family name, and trying to trace the history. A simple contrivance for a story... too simple? Well maybe, but somehow it works.
He meets along the way people who have taken the McCarthy history to heart all their lives, and add a rather worryingly obsessive, but equally enchanting color to the whole journey.
Most enjoyable though, are the more random aspects of his travels, where he merely bumps into folk just going about their normal, left-of-centre business in a typically untypical weird, off-the-wall, stupid, drunk (quite a lot of this) or just simply fascinating fashion. No character fails to come to life and veritably jump off the page, and no page can be turned without incurring another fit of chuckles somewhere on the next page. Some embellishment perhaps, but you couldn't make half of it up, and the daily reference to the quality of the local Chinese cuisine is just priceless!
I think it was McCathy's Bar (but it could be the other one) where Pete meets and describes a group of, as he termed it "stratospherically drunk" Celtic fans. It's simply one of the funniest throwaway adjectives I've heard anyone offer for some time, for reasons I cannot fathom (some people are just funny, that's all there is too it). And the whole passage left me very close to requiring treatment, I was laughing so hard. If you judge a read by how badly your sides hurt at the end, this guy is in the running for a big prize.
A couple of very funny books, written by a very funny man. What a shame he is no longer with us. A terrible, terrible shame in fact.
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