Published: 28/09/2015
ISBN: 9781784621933
eISBN: 9781784628475
Format: Paperback/eBook

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Securing a degree in chemistry, well before the days of modular exams, was a very good start for David, and his using this degree to embark on a lifetime career in accountancy seemed, at the time, lik... read more

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The Country-cides of Namibia and Botswana
Brian's World
by David Fletcher

A mauling of mankind and a travel diary make rather odd bedfellows. However, in The Country-cides of Namibia and Botswana, these unlikely playmates not only share the same pages, but they also enfold each other in a somewhat intimate embrace.

This remarkable union is all thanks to Brian. Because, as he embarks on a three-thousand-mile trip around Namibia and Botswana – which he records – he also embarks on an extended bout of ‘assassinations’. To illustrate to his wife how humankind is ill-suited to be the custodian of the world, he seeks to show her how inept it is at running its own affairs – at the level of the nation state. He does this by providing her with a series of critical commentaries on thirty of the world’s countries – commentaries that are so critical of these countries that they constitute nothing less than their murder. In short, he commits one act of country-cide after another and, in doing so, he assembles his indictment of mankind.

So, for example, he explains why Canada can easily be regarded as the most John Major of countries in the New World and why Argentina is the South American national equivalent of Gordon Brown. He also explains how one of the great imponderables of North Korea is how it deals with the lavatory arrangements at all those gargantuan rallies in Pyongyang – and why ‘Saudi Arabia’ and ‘fun’ never appear in the same sentence , other than when there’s a negative in there as well. Then there’s the under-achievements of Russia…

This work of ultimate irreverence and unremitting humour is inexplicably the eighth book in David’s seven-part ‘travel’ series and his first in the completely comprehensive subversion of the travel book genre. Previous books in the ‘Brian’s World’ series have been featured in Backpacker Trade News and the Sunday Post.

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As an avid traveller who loves Africa and often finds myself in small groups, I can see how much fun I’d have to travel in the company Brian and Sandra in Namibia and Botswana. This book is a personal account of a trip. There are great travel descriptions of places the couple visited and the impression the places make on them – one of my favourite is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve where the author paints the place just by its smell. As a travelogue it would be sufficient. But unfortunately Brian is not just a traveller. He enjoys sharing his well-documented information and musings about other countries e.g. Norway, France, Russia etc… These excellent parts are inserted in italic in the book and dispersed among the pages about the trip in Namibia / Botswana. And this is where I have a problem but another reader might not have one. I’d prefer if the author delivered his account of Namibia and Botswana separately because this is why I was interested in the book in the first place. If Brian claimed his story (wrote it in first person), I’d find him a very interesting person and in a separate part of the book he could collect his musings about the world, the bit that he shared in the evenings with his travel companions. The cocktail of musings about the world and travelogue doesn’t sit well with me. They destroy each other in my stomach. But this is like with sundowners drinks in Africa: other readers will enjoy the book as it is and rave about it.

by Sophie Cayeux

4 out of 5 stars

I have never ever found other peoples holidays or travels to be of the slightest interest so I did not really expect to enjoy this book. Although most of it was as I expected there were some good humerous sections that made me smile though I still think Brian would be a world class bore at a dinner party. Not for me but I think plenty of readers will love it.



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