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Flying Visits Hardcover – November, 1984

3.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Literate, brilliantly perceptive and witty, James's travel writing lays fair claim to S.J. Perelman's mantle. In this collection of James's London Observer pieces he describes his visits to his native Australia, Moscow, Japan, Salzburg and Jerusalem, and such U.S. sites as New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Epcot Center. There are also delightful entries on Margaret Thatchers visit to China, in which the Prime Minister is variously described as the War Leader, the Strong Woman, the Woman of Science and the Dragon Lady. James is devastating with similes (Arnold Schwarzenegger looks "like a brown condom full of walnuts") and trenchant in his observations ("Disney World is a vision without imagination"). A thorough pleasure.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Clive James was educated at Sydney University and Cambridge, where he was President of Footlights. In addition to his bestseller Unreliable Memoirs and his novel Brilliant Creatures, he has published four mock-epic poems, The Fate of Felicity Fark, Peregrine Prykke's Pilgrimage, Britannia Bright's Bewilderment and Charles Charming's Challenges; three books of literary criticism, The Metropolitan Critic, At the Pillars of Hercules and From the Land of Shadows; a book of verse letters, Fan-Mail, and a verse diary, Poem of the Year. Between 1972 and 1982 he was television critic for the Observer; the three volumes of selections from his column are entitled Visions Before Midnight, The Crystal Bucket and Glued to the Box. As a television performer he has appeared regularly in several series, most notably Cinema, Saturday Night People, Clive James on Television and The Late Clive James. His television documentaries include Paris Fashion Show and Live in Las Vegas.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; 1st Ed. edition (November 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224022121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224022125
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,941,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
FLYING VISITS consists of twenty travel pieces – or “postcards” – that Clive James wrote for “The Observer” between 1976 and 1984. That was relatively early in his career as a cultural critic, and the Clive James of FLYING VISISTS was not yet the Clive James who wrote “Cultural Amnesia” (one of the best books I have ever read). But a more serious drawback to FLYING VISITS is that it is badly dated. Among the pieces are reviews of “La Clemenza di Tito” and “Das Rosenkavalier” at the Salzburg Festival of 1979 and reports on Margaret Thatcher’s trip to China in 1982 and Queen Elizabeth’s to California in 1983. At this remove, they possess infinitesimal intrinsic interest. Most of the pieces are journalistic snapshots of notable world cities for the readers back home in the United Kingdom, and as such they deal primarily with matters of contemporary flavor and interest (as opposed to matters, say, of history and long-standing culture). Hence, they too do not age particularly well. The “postcards” on New York, Paris, and Washington, D.C. (three of James’s destinations I have visited in the last decade) report on cities that have changed significantly in the last third of a century, as presumably too have most of the subject cities to which I have never been, such as Sydney, Moscow, Munich, and Jerusalem.

Putting aside the mustiness of the book, FLYING VISITS is not bad. There are frequent instances of James’s wit, although it is not quite as rapier-like as it later became. And there are enough astute, or at least provocative, observations to keep the reader of 2013 going. Here are three:

Commenting on the crowdedness of Japan and its commercial and industrial efficiency: “One day all the world will be like Japan, full of more and more people with less and less to do.
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Format: Paperback
Clive James was a young person fascinated by planes , airports, and flying. This fascination has its literary expression in this collection of 'Observer' columns focused on his immediate impressions of cities he alights in. He starts with two pieces on his native Sydney and makes something of a world tour which includes Washington,New York, Moscow, Tokyo,Rome, Los Angeles, Salzburg, Epcot, Munich, Paris and Jerusalem. Everpresent is his astonishing liveliness, ironic humor and wit. He is a sharp observer and above all a somewhat cantankerous and brilliant commentator. Non- conventionality and freshness seem to be something which are just what he is.
James is not shy and he mixes in everything he knows or has thought. And often the pleasure of the work is in his description of the reality he meets in contradiction to the expectations he has brought with him.
There are plenty of delights in this work. It is also a very light read which can be sped through at supersonic pace.
A highly enjoyable read.
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Now we know why this book is out of print . Strangely not typical of Clives womnderful witty works. Frankly vanilla boring .
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