I Wouldn't Start From Here is Andrew Mueller's personal memoir of the 21st century so far. It features any number of exotic locations, and a cast of revolutionaries, rock stars, politicians, hitmen, warmongers and peacemakers. Between ducking for cover in Gaza, running roadblocks in Iraq, getting arrested in Cameroon and hanging out with Hezbollah, this is a search for an answer to perhaps the key question of our time: "What is it with these people?"
©2008 Andrew Mueller; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"A gung-ho Candide with a taste for places it is wiser to avoid. . . the reports collected in 'I Wouldn't Start From Here' are graphic, comic, bemused and properly contemptuous of faith and ideology." (Jonathan Meades, Books of the Year, Evening Standard)
"An utterly sui generis report from the world's plague-spots." (Michael Bywater, Books of the Year, New Statesman)
"I can think of no more entertaining companion on a perilous journey than the ever hopeful, wildly optimistic yet clear-thinking Andrew Mueller." (Rory MacLean, The Guardian)
Normally I listen to the narration sample before I buy a book, but the reviews on Amazon suggested it was a very good book ... which it is. The narrator however kills it, and I'm going to struggle to finish listening.
The book is written by an Australian who is widely published in British newspapers and whose wrting dripping with sardonic humour and irony. It struck me as rather strange when I started listening to the audio that they'd chosen an American narrator with the delivery style of a Discovery Channel documentary presenter - fantastic for talking about the wonder of sharks I'm sure, but it really didn't sit right with an irreverent and mocking writing style that pokes fun at the world. Maybe the production company were trying to dispel the suggestion by us Brits that Americans don't get irony ... well if this guy does get irony, his voice doesn't display it.
Then came the pronunciation of names. OK I can handle Moss-cow, it always makes me giggle but potato, tomato and all that each to their own. The fact that this guy when he wasn't sure seemed to go with the get the first syllable, mumble the middle, catch the last syllable that we all do with names we can't pronounce annoyed me - it's a book about the world and travel, the names matter I can't read them, I sort of expect the narrator to try and get them right. Can-toe-ner-esque, to describe a rant had me rewinding to work out the word he’d donated to the English language
Then came the accents. When he tried a British accent I got a mental image of Dick Vann Dyke and Mary Poppins tap dancing with penguins. His Albanian accent started off as Arnie, and then within a couple of sentences trotted the globe and visited Scandinavia, Pakistan and the Middle East. The first couple I thought he'd slipped into by mistake but he gained confidence and completely comedy accents flowed.
I'm sure this narrator is great when given the right style of content, but he completely fails at ironic travel biographies
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