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Flying Visits (Picador Books)

New or Used: $11.75
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Literate, brilliantly perceptive and witty, James's travel writing lays fair claim to S.J. Perelman's mantle. In this collection of James's London Observer pieces he describes his visits to his native Australia, Moscow, Japan, Salzburg and Jerusalem, and such U.S. sites as New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Epcot Center. There are also delightful entries on Margaret Thatchers visit to China, in which the Prime Minister is variously described as the War Leader, the Strong Woman, the Woman of Science and the Dragon Lady. James is devastating with similes (Arnold Schwarzenegger looks ``like a brown condom full of walnuts'') and trenchant in his observations (``Disney World is a vision without imagination''). A thorough pleasure. (April 28)

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