am 6. Dezember 2002
Bill Bryson schildert in seinen "Notes from a schmall Island" seine Eindrücke von seiner Rundreise durch Großbritannien so anekdotenreich und persönlich, dass es eine Freude ist. Der Leser wird über 29 Stationen gleichsam mitgenommen in ein Land, in dem Bryson jahrelang mit seiner Familie lebte und arbeitete und das er, wie sich in seinen Berichten herausstellt, mit all seinen Skurrilitäten und Besonderheiten lieben gelernt hat. Nicht ohne ironische Seitenhiebe bezogen auf seine amerikanischen Landsleute gewährt Bryson Einblicke in die britische Reisekultur - Bed and Breakfast mit teilweise familiärem Charme - und in britische Architekturwunder. Wobei er scharf kontrastiert zwischen altehrwürdigen Kathedralen und schmuddeligen 60er-Jahre-Bauten, die ganze Stadtbilder verschandeln. Der Leser erlebt eine Reise durch die Welt der "splendid isolation" abseits ausgetretener Touristenpfade und mit einer herzerfrischenden Portion Humor und Sarkasmus. Gerade für Reiseindividualisten eine spannende Lektüre, die Lust auf und reif für die Insel macht.
am 2. August 2005
Ein fantastisches Buch für alle, die die britischen Inseln und ihre schrulligen Bewohner ins Herz geschlossen haben! Eine kurzweiligere Beschreibung der englischen Lebensweise gibt es wohl kaum. Der typische, trockene Bryson-Humor und eine exzellente Beobachtungsgabe machen dieses Buch zu einem kleinen Juwel! Allen, die sich länger in England aufgehalten haben oder dies zu tun gedenken, kann man dieses Buch nur wärmstens empfehlen!
am 10. Mai 2001
Bill Bryson's: "Notes from a Small Island" are about an American's love of Britain. After having lived and worked (!) in Britain for twenty years and immediately before going back to the US, Bryson embarks on a last trip around the enchanted island. His aim is to search for the true origin of his deep affection. What he finds is a country which most British people themselves have already written off. However, those of us who believe that despite all its potential insufficiencies this Britain, an enchanted and blessed island, must still be alive somewhere, will read Bryson's travel account with tremendous relief. "This Britain is still there", is the message of the book though it is not the Britain of imperial glamour ruling three quarters of the Earth! Bryson does not spare us its unpleasant traits such as the slums in the big cities, decaying seaside resorts, shortages of staple goods on Saturday afternoons and inexplicable railway fares. However, on the other side, it is the Britain of so many pleasant things that make life worth living: cricket matches on Sunday afternoons, village parties in summer, country lanes that "will dance you down to Devon"(Greeba Bridget-Jones in English Lanes), to mention only a few examples of why this is still an enchanted island. If most British people really look upon the development of their country in the 20th century as a "chronic failure" as Bryson puts it, then his finds reveal that they are wrong and that their attitude is probably due to a depressive mood resulting from the loss of an empire which they even "dismantled in a generally benign and enlightened way". In considering all the traits of this country whether ugly or pleasant, Bryson proves that his love is genuine. It is a love for better or worse! Therefore, for all of you who like it there too, who "like it more then they can tell", reading the "Notes from a Small Island" is a must and all the others "mustn't grumble!"
am 15. Mai 1999
Bill Bryson is a genius. This book is probably the best he has written. For those people that say the English have no sense of humour, they obviously don't know that this book was on the best-seller list in England for months, and was turned into a TV series when Bill toured round England. Reading this book can be embarrassing as you find yourself laughing out loud at numerous intervals - it is wonderfully observant, self-deprecating, cheeky, intelligent, fascinating, sarcastic humour that never gets boring. I don't know what my favourite part is. Probably the whole thing. Bill Bryson lived in England for a very long time, and came to think of it as home. He appreciated our sense of humour (and yes, we spell it humour, not humor), and the fact that we understood irony and sarcasm. He loved our biscuits, our little sayings, our culture, our history, our obsession with cricket (well, not all of us like that game) and football. This book is a wonderful love letter to England about what Bill feels about it, as he makes his farewell tour around it. For those of you that think he is ranting, and is obsessed with finding fault with England, then you just don't get it.
am 15. Mai 2009
Bill Bryson ist bekannt für seine ironischen und persönlichen Reiseberichte aus aller Welt. In Notes from a small Island verschlägt es ihn nach Großbritannien, ein Land das ihm gar nicht so fremd ist, da der gebürtige Amerikaner jahrelang mit seiner Familie dort gelebt hat. Auf seiner Reise von Dover bis nach Schottland erlebt er allerlei skurrile Begegnungen mit den Briten die er humorvoll, oft überspitzt aber dennoch charmant wieder gibt. Dabei schreibt er sehr ungezwungen und kurzweilig, so dass jede noch so unwichtige Kleinigkeit zum Schmunzeln anregt. Offen beschreibt er alles, was Großbritannien zu einem so liebenswerten Land macht und geht sowohl auf die positiven als auch die negativen Eigenschaften seiner Bewohner ein. Jeder der die Insel schon einmal besucht hat wird manche Dinge wieder erkennen, denn das Buch bringt die Atmosphäre des Landes wunderbar zum Leser nach Hause.
Zugegeben einige Passagen ziehen sich ein wenig, aber der Rest des Buches, vor allem Brysons Erlebnisse in Schottland entschädigen voll und ganz für die Schwachstellen. Fans von Großbritannien greifen mit diesem Buch nicht daneben. Gewürzt mit Brysons trockenem Humor und einer Portion Selbstironie ist Notes from a small Island ein großer Lesespaß.
am 25. Februar 2000
I have to stop reading these books. People are looking at me funny in restaurants and on the train when I burst out laughing. But Bryson's books are SO GOOD. What's a person to do?
If you read A Walk in the Woods and felt a deep yearning to walk the Appalachian trail, haul out your suitcase. This book will make you want to follow Bryson's footsteps again as he travels across England, Wales, and Scotland by foot, by bus, and by train. He spends a day or so in dozens of small towns and cities, disecting them for our education and amusement. He tours galleries, musuems, and historic homes; visits pubs and restaurants; and stays in an amazing variety of shoddy hotels. (There are fine hotels in England. They just cost more than he is willing to pay.)
Even if you don't plan to go to England anytime soon (and why not? it's a lovely country full of friendly people we Americans and Canadians can mostly understand) this book is a reminder to those of us who are far too insular that the world out there is different and that difference is a good and quite frequently amusing thing.
Bill Bryson erzählt immer gerne von seinen Erlebnissen in anderen Ländern. In diesem Fall allerdings handelt es sich eher um einen Bericht aus der Heimat, in der er 17 Jahre seines Lebens verbracht hat. Nach seiner ersten Tour durch Europa als Student hatte es ihn schließlich nach England verschlagen, bzw. nach Großbritannien, auch wenn sich die Ereignisse, die er hier beschreibt in erster Linie auf England beziehen.
In der typischen humorvollen – und auch selbstironischen Art und Weise geschrieben, die man von Bill Bryson gewohnt ist und von Kelly Shale hervorragend vorgetragen, gibt einem dieses Hörspiel wunderbare Einblicke in das Leben in England, die man als Außenstehender sonst kaum bekommen kann und die zeigen, wie tief die Liebe zu diesem Land in einem Fremden verwachsen kann.
am 18. April 2001
This was the first book by Bill Bryson that I read and I just couldn't put it down. It is extremely funny, though one should not think of it as a travel book. Use it as a travel guide and you'll be lost. As always Bryson writes from the pint of view of an American who has lived for many years on the "Small Island". Before he, his wife (who's British, by the way) and their kids leave England to setlle in the US he tries to capture impressions from all over the country, starting out in France. On his travels throughout Britain Bryson views the country and the people throught the eyes of an American tourist as well as somebody who knows country a n d people. He also recalls his first trip to the British Isles while still in his teens. In short: It is a book which everybody will love, apart frm the British, maybe. But then again: Bryson can't be taken too seriously...
am 11. Juni 1999
There are certain idiosyncratic notions that you come to accept when you live for a long time in Britain. Apparently you need to be British to appreciate Bill and Ben Flower Pot Men and seaside holidays. And so this book portrays excellently the ironic lifestyle of all that we've come to call, love and accept as being typically British. To a native, travelling round Britain using nothing but public transport doesn't strike anybody as a great day out, especially with the British transport network . As for Bryson, before leaving his much loved north Yorkshire cottage, he needed to investigate and interrogate the island that has given the world such joys as the Morecambe and Wise Show and Tony Hancock, one final time. Notes From a Small Island is a superb book which stands proud in its own unique genre. Bryson's exhaustingly humorous writing combined with a style that leaves you trying to work out when you visited that town before is sure to leave you craving for more. The main attraction of this book is quite convincingly its humour. A marvellous blend of subtle quips merged with gentle, un-insulting statements provides the reader with hilarious accounts of his travels. What pulls him apart from other writers is his incredible talent for observational humour, which all adds to the overall effect of this book. Yes the dialogue is difficult and also quite gritty in small snippets which regrettably and slightly unnecessarily leaves this travellers auto-biography safely on the hands of the older, more experienced reader. Despite the slightly gritty language and a blurb that's about as far away from the story as possible, this book is definitely recommend and a serious threat to the British Patriot.
am 7. April 1999
There are very few writers of whom you think, I'd like to have a beer with that guy.. Bill Bryson is one such however. His ability to poke fun at us all, Brits, Americans, Europeans, and any number of other nationalities, is remarkable... and yet he does it with a kind of wicked charm that makes it nigh on impossible to take offence. Bryson caused me great embarassment when I read this book on a south-bound train from Leeds, as I kept emitting snorts of laughter which resulted in my fellow passengers moving to other carriages.
I love this book, and I love its American successor, *Notes from a Big Country* too. In this one, his whimsical tour through Britain and his reflections on what makes us the people and place that we are is truly hilarious. In *The Lost Continent*, Bryson does the same to small town America as he subjects his dear mum's old chevette to long, long journeys east and west of his home in Des Moines, Iowa.
Bryson has respect for those things which are most valuable in any country, but little respect for the traditional tourist trail and sentimental tripe. He can surely claim honorary Brit status, should he and the family (Mrs Bryson and the children, including "little Jimmy", the child that never was) ever plan to return to the UK.
*A Walk in the Woods* is also well worth a read, for those who got to know Bryson's old school friend Stephen Katz in the chronicle of their adolescent meander through Europe, *Neither Here Nor There*. In *A Walk in the Woods*, Bryson and Katz walk the Appalachian Trail, aka the AT, together over the summer. Bill is a hardier man than he looks!
But of them all, *Notes from a Small Island* remains my favourite, because it reminds me why despite all my moans, I still love this country. Those who say Americans have no sense of irony have obviously never read Bill Bryson's books; he has it in buckets.