Synopsis: Newly single Jack Kavanagh longs to visit one hundred countries and the join the Travelers’ Century Club before his landmark birthday. There is just one problem: Jack’s enthusiasm for travel is matched only by his unsuitability to do so. Traveling alone for the first time following the death of his partner, Kay, he flies to the Coronation Islands, fumbling around in dreamily faraway places in order to tick off his last three countries. He soon discovers that the more of the world he sees, the less he understands.
My review: The blurb on Good reads says this is a darkly comic book. I’d like for someone to point out where those bits are because I couldn’t find them. I nearly gave this book up after the first few chapters. I found the writing to not be very good. But I persevered and once we got past the bitter chapter about his ex-wife and the amount of money he earns as a stockbroker it settled down a bit more into what I wanted – a travel story.
I think the biggest problem is Jack himself. I know he’s suffering because his fiancee died but blimey he’s miserable. It permeates throughout the whole book to the point I felt miserable reading it. I don;t want to get to the last few chapters before he discovers the meaning of life. I spent more time wishing he’d just go home if he hated traveling alone that much.
I did like the descriptions of the islands. That’s where I enjoy travel books. A chance to read about places I may never get to go to but also the descriptions of tourist places that you don’t get in the brochures and guides as well as the non-touristy places. I enjoyed reading about the characters on the islands and how they made a living hawking tat the tourists buy and the horrid restaurants. I refuse to eat in the chains I can get in England when I travel so I enjoy hearing about the local cuisine and eateries.
I think it’s the tone that put me off, he really does sound so miserable but not in a ‘my fiancee’s dead’ kinda way just someone that doesn’t seem that much fun to be around even when she was alive. The book just didn’t gel for me. Not one I’d like to read again sadly
Free ARC from netgalley