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 adore this book. I've listened to Penguins Stopped Play twice now. It's fantastic. The spirit of the Captain Scott's cricket team is infectious. Wonderful narrative (I usual hate it when narrators use accents, but they simply add to the charm).
A great book for cricket lovers and for anyone with a sense of humour. Highly recommended.
"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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