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Notes From A Big Country
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Readers of Bill Bryson's previous works will know that he and his English family moved to the USA two years ago, and, according to Notes From a Big Country, they now live in an idyllic small town in New England. This captivating book is a collection of the weekly articles Bryson has been writing for an English magazine since returning to his homeland. Reminiscent of Alistair Cooke's Letter from America, these articles comment on many aspects of contemporary life in the USA, including Mrs Bryson's two-year battle to secure residency, the average American's abhorrence of walking anywhere, the glorious changes of season in New England, bureaucracy, airlines, telephone companies (all of which seem to have elevated lack of service to an art form), guns, and even a touching piece about how the Bryson household is affected when their oldest son goes off to college. Only two of these pieces failed to involve me - one concerning baseball, the other the US personal tax system. For the rest, Bryson's powers of observation, use of language, style, wit, social conscience and ability to write to a rigid word limit kept me involved throughout the book. Laughter, tears, rage, despair, hope - what more could you ask of a read? Highly recommended. Max Oliver is owner-manager of Lindfield Bookshop, Lindfield (NSW). C. 1998 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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