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Molvania: A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry (Jetlag Travel Guide) Paperback – September 2, 2004
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Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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Top Customer Reviews
What I enjoy most about this book isn't so much the imaginative and rather sadly destitute world the co-authors created, but the way they capture the condescending tone that mimics accurately the smugly conveyed expertise of the writers behind the Lonely Planet and Rough Guide books. For example, in explaining the complexity of the Molvanian language, the co-authors state in pseudo-helpful prose: "There are four genders: male, female, neutral, and the collective noun for cheeses, which occupies a nominative sub-section of its very own. The language also contains numerous irregular verbs, archaic phrases, words of multiple meaning and several phonetic sounds linguists suspect could represent either a rare dialect or merely peasants clearing their throat." Priceless stuff here.Read more ›
Imagine my surprise then when, on close scrutiny, I found how the team at JETLAG has managed to compile an accurate and actually useful guide, an opus that will serve well all travelers, past and future, to Molvania and beyond. I find that the maps especially are a treat in their accuracy and detail, especially considering that you cannot buy maps in Molvania proper. Details of cuisine and local customs are also accurately captured, and their flavor stays with you even longer than the hangover.
There is one omission in this travel guide, however, one that I hope will be addressed in future editions: a section addressing the needs of business travelers is sorely lacking, and visiting business persons will find that they need all the help they can get while transacting their affairs with Molvanian tycoons.
Otherwise, a well deserved five stars - especially that hey have used my picture for the book cover.
PS - To all Molvanians and neighboring natives who have spoken negatively on this one: please lighten up, this is a fine read (two minutes at a time), one of the best jokes related to that part of the world, enjoy it!
The guide details such attractions as the "Museum of Medieval Dentistry" (Muszm Dentjk Medjvl), which features a 150 minute presentation on Inflammatory Gum Disease. Details like that and the fact that the Molvanian diet is largely based on parsnips and pickled herring contribute to the faux-authenticity of this book, which is further aided by the realistic "Jetlag Travel Guide" binding.
At least one reviewer took offense that this book mocked Eastern Europe, but I don't agree: the book specifically invented a fictional country to avoid ridiculing a real nation. There is certainly no mistake that Eastern Europe is economically behind the west, but given that this book was clearly written as satire, I think in general that a reader would have to be unusually sensitive to be truly offended by this work; I agree with noted travel author Bill Bryson: "this book is brilliantly original and very, very funny." The book is a bit redundant and lengthy, which are the main detractors, in my view. It is a "one joke" book, but it is a good joke, and a very well executed one at that.
The rest of the book is devoted to a full description of the five regions with information about the main towns, hotels, where to eat and what to see. In fact just what you would expect to see in any travel guide and this is why I think the book is just stunning, it looks so convincing. The attention to detail has paid off, with little colour code squares on the edge of each page, central area street maps of each town, hotel references (with those little symbols for bed, phone, karaoke or toxic spa) the use of bold type in the text to emphasise things to see or do, color panels with Traveller's Tips, dozens of photos obviously carefully chosen to depict negative aspects of the country and at the back an index, a detailed map of Molvania and a map of the capital (Lutenblag) transport system. It just looks so real and I think it is a tribute to the authors that they have managed to keep the parody text credible to the last page.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was disappointed by this book.
I bought it under the impression that it would be a humorous-but-accurate travel guide, in the vein of others in this genre. Read more
This book is hilarious, I laugh out loud whenever I read it. Pick any page and start, it's not the kind of book you read cover to cover.Published 12 months ago by Simone
For all us backpackers grown up on Lonely Planet and a shoe string, this is pure gold!
Word word word
I love the appeal of the book, it looks like a tourist book, and every page is something new and hilarious. I laughed until I cried. Read morePublished on January 24, 2014 by Christine Rosemary
I got this book from my brother who had heard it is a hilarious book. The beginning of the book, was sort of funny, where the authors describe them self and portray the country's... Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Alireza
A great spoof on eastern Europe and travel abroad in General. Having lived in Eastern Europe I can say that this reflects the humor one must have before going, simply to try and... Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Not Available