Friday, 7 October 2011

Book Review: Narrow Dog to Carcassonne - Terry Darlington

Synopsis - Terry and Monica Darlington, both pensioners, decided to sail their canal narrow boat Phyllis May across the English Channel through Belgium and France to the Mediterranean, with their whippet Jim.  They took advice from experts, who told them they would lose their boat and their lives (and indeed their whippet Jim).

Narrow Dog to Carcassonne is a true story of high adventure as experienced by two innocents and a reluctant dog.  On board the Phyllis May you chase rabbits in Oxfordshire, moor among the bankers of the City, dive through six foot waves in the Channel, live among history in Flanders, battle through Belgium, drift across Champagne, throw a rope around the Eiffel Tower, struggle with hostile life forms in Burgundy, float down the Saone from vineyard to vineyard, are swept from Lyon to Avignon by the terrible Rhone, and fight for your life on an inland sea among the flamingos of the Carmargue.

Storms, hangovers, breakdowns, vandals, dicks, trolls, aliens, gongoozlers, killer fish and the walking dead stand between the intrepid crew and their goal - many towered Carcassonne.

Review - Terry Darlington formerly wrote for Punch and other magazines.  This book is a travelogue of the Darlington's journey to Carcassonne on their narrowboat.  It is full of humour and peppered with Terry's brilliant wit.  I enjoyed the story and the humour.

However, the book itself was let down badly by the fact that it had not been proof-read properly.  It was full of typographical and grammatical errors which I found quite off putting.  Far too often there was no spacing between sentences, words with capital letters mid sentence and a distinct lack of speech marks, to name a few.  For a writer and former market researcher, these mistakes are quite unforgivable.  Thank goodness, my copy was a loan from the library!

Does it cost that much to employ a proof reader?  Surely not, I expect the author had received an advance and as the owner of a narrow boat, I doubt he was short of cash!  It shows a certain rudeness and arrogance on the author's part to publish work at such a sub standard level and expect his audience to buy, let alone read the book.  It doesn't give a very good advertisement for Bantam Press (part of Transworld Publishers) either.  Due to the low standard of the final publication, I will give this book 2* rating.

Blog Archive