Flying Visits

Clive James

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06 April 2017
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A collection of Clive James's 'Postcards' originally written for The Observer between the years 1976 and 1983 about his experiences travelling abroad, from Peking, Los Angeles and Sydney. Full of James's distinctive wit and satire, this is a timeless collection for the well, and not so well travelled.

Flying Visits is written with a riveting mix of wit, humour, satire and above all, penetrating observation. Here we have the triumvirate of fact, imagination and eloquence which does for the mind what a jumbo jet does for the body. You may never get to Peking, for instance, but this book works as a considerable consolation. Atmosphere is always as valid as cold fact when recalling a foreign visit and James manufactures mood with unequalled mastery

Irish Independent

Clive James's collection is of unashamed first reactions to cities and countries after you get off the plane. He writes with such wisecracking intelligence that you're happy to be taken around by him - whether to Japan, Los Angeles, or Sydney


Following Mrs Thatcher round China, dazzling a posse of Russian hotel maids with his ability to say, with the help of a phrase book, 'The bath illuminations have been destroyed', rocking in the slipstream of Washington's joggers, he is a sympathetic traveller and a shrewd pinpointer of the funny, frightening, surreal or otherwise significant detail


His distinctive contribution to the gaiety of nations has been to discern high comedy in the low compromises of kitsch. James on Dallas, or any other variety of soap (beauty competitions, fashion shows, media-hungry politicians), was as good as Peacock on Shelley, Flann O'Brien on the Gaelic league, Tom Wolfe on radical chic. James is the ideal common viewer, with whom we rejoice to concur

London Magazine