It seemed a simple enough idea at the outset: to assemble a team of 11 men to play cricket on each of the seven continents of the globe - except that's not a simple idea at all. And when you throw in incompetent airline officials, cunning Bajan drug dealers, overzealous American anti-terrorist police, idiotic Welshmen dressed as Santa Claus, and whole armies of pitch-invading penguins, you quickly arrive at a lot more than you bargained for.
Harry Thompson's hilarious book tells the story of one of those great madcap enterprises that only an Englishman could have dreamed up, and only a bunch of Englishmen could possibly have wished to carry out.
©2006 The Estate of Harry Thompson; (P)2007 Isis Publishing
"Thompson almost launches another genre: the picaresque comic memoir of sporting incompetence." (Guardian)
"Crammed with sharp observation, comic and cruel characterisation, and a great many very good jokes." ( Telegraph)
What a wonderful introduction to the world of audio books. I loved it. For several days I wandered around in a daze, my lunch times filled with laughter and the tv remaining silent.
I don't know what possessed me to take this book. I'm not sporting, and certainly not a cricket fan. But now I want to start my own cricket team.
The book is gently funny, wickedly funny, side-splittingly funny, poking fun at well-known names, unknown names and entire nationalities. The author is relentless in his refreshingly candid - and did I mention funny? - exploration of human weaknesses and tendencies. In fact, maybe that's what made the book so special for me. Its about real people, doing real things - and as they say, truth can be stranger than fiction.
The narrator transported me to another England (as well as of course onto every continent) and I loved every minute of my travels with Captain Scott's XI. Its a highly personal experience, being read to, and its impossible to spend that amount of time with that voice - and those characters - and not have them become part of the extended family.
In fact, on reaching the end (sitting in my car one lunch break, with ten minutes to go before I was due back at my desk and tears in my eyes), I simply started back at the beginning again. I couldn't just relegate that familiar voice and those people I had spent so long with to the depths of time!
I have recommended this book to almost everyone who will keep still long enough to listen to my ravings - and that includes your good self. All it took was ten minutes and I was hooked.
Give it a go - and have a listen for yourself.
This was the first audiobook i've ever listened to and what a way to start. Harry Thompsons book is one of pure genius. Laugh out load moments are plentyfull with the narration just perfect.
A real adventure, who would have thought that touring the world, bring all corners the wonderful game of cricket could be so hard.
If I had run into so many problems I would have given up, but not this team of Sunday no-hopers, they press on with their travels, and thank goodness for that, as they stumble from one problem to another the humour keeps comming.
A well described journey, equally well read.
From begining to end, a real hoot.
Firstly let me say that I am a big cricket fan and so, the subject matter of this book immediately struck a cord with me. Having said that, I?m convinced that the wonderful writing, great characters and extreme humor will make this book a joy for non-cricket lovers as well. Extremely silly, very sad in some parts and beautifully read, this is a top top audio book.
If you like Cricket then this would be a good read, then again if you don't its still worth a go.
The story was brought to life very well. I got strange looks when bursting out with laughter in odd situations. Highly recommended.
This is probably one of the best reads/listens I have had in a very long time. I was initially concerned that it would be a a cricket geeks read but it was nothing of the sort. Funny, descriptive, brilliant travelogue, it had it all. It was very well written and a pleasure to listen to throughout. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone as it has something in it for all.
I'd heard an excerpt of the book in Agnew's Anthony, so I thought it check it out. After a couple of chapters I'd concluded that half of the team were team were idiots and they annoyed me, so I stopped listening. I went back to the book a few weeks later and gave it a chance to improve, fortunately it did. The exploits of the newer protagonists were entertaining and frankly a better to listen to. Parts are very funny. The end left me sad, but that's life.
I couldn't get on with the narrator, he seemed to well practised in giving things a comic spin and the staccato style was probably intended to impart drama. I'd prefer less of an actor. But each to their own.
"Enjoyable Sports and Travel Book"
Thompson was a comedy TV producer (including helping to create the Ali G character) before his untimely death from cancer. This book is 50% comic misadventure travel book (in the style of Bill Bryson or J. Maarten Troost) and 50% sports book (it's about a bunch of friends who travel around playing cricket, after all). But, you might have a tough time on the cricket references if you don't know a "wicket" from an "over." The narration is brilliant.
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