aa gill is away

I’m going to break up my blogging week of Melbourne lovin’ to write a review on the latest book I just finished;

AA Gill is Away (funnily enough by AA Gill). 

Adrian Anthony Gill is a food and travel writer who I first read as a regular feature article in Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. He’s a handsome, 50-something journalist who literally fell into the profession after an unsuccessful stint as an artist.

The first thing I love about AA Gill is that he’s funny. Literally laugh out loud funny. After you accept his decidedly British humour then you can focus on his in-depth knowledge and sublime prose. When his first editor at GQ magazine asked him what he wanted to achieve as a journalist he said “I’d like to interview places. To treat a place as if it were a person, to go and listen to it, ask it questions.” And that he does. He’s not your usual travel writer. He is brutally honest with no regard for political correctness, which I find extremely refreshing, but whether or not he falls in love with a destination (whether it be village, city, country or restaurant) he takes the time to explore and gets to know it intimately.

Away is written in essay format and sectioned into four parts; north, south, east and west. The North focuses on Europe, South mainly on Africa, East on Asia and West on the Americas.

I love the story on The Kalahari entitled ‘Out of their Element’ so much that I read it twice. I had tears rolling down my eyes as I read the description of his bowel movements in the middle of a gargantuan dessert storm.

And similarly, the story of how he came to be a porn producer in Hollywood was both fascinating and surprising. Read ‘When DD met AA’ for a titillating account of a journalistic man’s wet dream! (and many other men, I’m sure)

For those who know his magazine and newspaper columns (he writes for UK Sunday Times, Vanity Fair and Australian Gourmet Traveller) the noticeable difference in his book is that he swears. A lot. Most people say that people who swear have a limited vocabulary but this is simply not the case with Gill. I have to look up words on more than one occasion. The swearing doesn’t bother me but I’m sure some people would take offence to all the F-bombs. But then again, those same people would probably take offence to half of the essays in this book considering his satirical, non-censored account of the people and places he visits (refer to East essay ‘Mad in Japan’).

I am envious of his exceptional talent and the number of stamps on his passport. But you know that he works for it; in one essay he references that he took 30 minutes to write the previous sentence and it’s common knowledge that he has a serious case of dyslexia (his articles are written by dictation); and you admire him for that.

I really enjoyed this book and I’ve got the order in for two more.

Published by thisismelly

Mel @thisismelly lives a life of adventure, gets lost in farmer’s markets, regularly indulges in movies, loves to whip up gourmet meals in the kitchen, swears that one day she will learn to speak French properly, adores candles and fresh flowers, married her high school sweetheart, visited 19 countries and counting, fears an apocalyptic rage-virus, regularly spoils her cavoodle Harley, loves walking along the harbour, is decorated with ink, muddles her right & left, seasonally switches between blonde and brunette, has soul-mates, favours painted nails & dangly earrings, always orders the 'plateau de fromages', is obsessed with British or Scandinavian crime fiction, detests creepy-crawlies & people who take too long to order coffee, gives terrible directions, makes up crazy dances for her devilishly handsome husband, believes in good, would always be dressed in Saint Laurent, Gucci & Chloe if she could, adores Tex-Mex & Japanese, loves the smell of rain & evening jasmine, may be addicted to Instagram&Pinterest, is always on the hunt for a really good macchiato, is James Taylor’s biggest fan, gets rowdy with tequila, dreams every night, takes pickles, jalapeños & dried fruit for movie snacks, would hate a world without French champagne, adores Pantone 1765, almost always wishes she was lying on the sand in the sun, is an inconsistent Paleo convert and although she is a hopeless Francophile she will forever be smitten with Sydney.

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