In the 1850s, a wealthy British philanthropist by the name of Lord Dufferin sailed his yacht into the Arctic Circle and wrote the bestselling travelogue Letters from High Latitudes
. In the 1990s, British writer Tim Moore decided to follow Dufferin's steps--by boat, plane, and bike. This retracing of Dufferin's travels across Iceland, into Norway, and to Spitzbergen (prompted when Moore reads the Lord's 19th-century memoir) is told in a lively, self-deprecating style and starts out brimming with funny anecdotes and interesting tidbits, particularly about Iceland, a report-happy land where the government commissions studies about "the effects of centrifugal force at roundabouts" and where "53 percent of the Icelanders believe in elves."
While Moore continues to unleash an often funny ramble about his northern excursion, something happens mid-book around the time he learns he's lost a work-related lawsuit back in England: perhaps Moore's mind is disintegrating in the polar blasts or he's lost his will to sustain an audience, but the writer's style becomes more manic, his recorded observations are frequently peppered with the base and crude, and his obsession changes from the travels of Lord Dufferin to the fate of one of Dufferin's colleagues, Wilson. The same writing voice that keeps one amused through the first half of the book starts to annoy by the end, as Moore stops providing much relevant info, and instead goes on at great lengths about the price of hot dogs, his nights of drinking and frequent bouts of nausea. Too disgusting in parts to warrant a recommendation to those easily shocked, this jumbled travelogue is nevertheless an often entertaining look into Tim Moore's personal Arctic madness. --Melissa Rossi
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Deciding to re-create the 1850s Icelandic and Scandinavian travels of English Lord Dufferin, Moore sets out to learn about Dufferin, his time, and his motivation by visiting his home and descendants. Moore's description of his stay at the ancestral manor reveals a fascinating lifestyle known to few. As the author travels, he continues to share his very personal reactions to people, places, local history, and situations. While most of his travel is undertaken on a variety of ships, no shipping company is liable to use any of his descriptions in advertising. Moore's writing seems fashioned after a combination of Dave Barry's glib, exaggerated style and Billy Connelly's mental gymnastics. Obviously brilliant, clever, and thoroughly comedic, Moore shares his adventures both in detailed reality and in delusional mind trips. Sounding a little like the supremely talented John Cleese, Richard Greenwood reads it all beautifully. This Monty Python approach is fun for adults, who won't take it too seriously or even try to follow it closely. Expensive, but entertaining, the program contains profanity, hygiene humor, drinking, and sexual innuendo. Not recommended for school libraries or collections used predominately by children. Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Salinas, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the