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The Lost Continent [Anglais] [Broché]

Bill Bryson
4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (5 commentaires client)
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Description de l'ouvrage

2 janvier 1999 Roman

'I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to'

And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn't hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. Travelling around thirty-eight of the lower states - united only in their mind-numbingly dreary uniformity - he discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.

The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature - hilariously, stomach-achingly funny, yet tinged with heartache - and the book that first staked Bill Bryson's claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.


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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter One

I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to. When you come from Des Moines you either accept the fact without question and settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever, or you spend your adolescence moaning at length about what a dump it is and how you can't wait to get out, and then you settle down with a local girl named Bobbi and get a job at the Firestone factory and live there forever and ever.

Hardly anyone ever leaves. This is because Des Moines is the most powerful hypnotic known to man. Outside town there is a big sign that says, WELCOME TO DES MOINES. THIS IS WHAT DEATH IS LIKE. There isn't really. I just made that up. But the place does get a grip on you. People who have nothing to do with Des Moines drive in off the interstate, looking for gas or hamburgers, and stay forever. There's a New Jersey couple up the street from my parents' house whom you see wandering around from time to time looking faintly puzzled but strangely serene. Everybody in Des Moines is strangely serene.

The only person I ever knew in Des Moines who wasn't serene was Mr. Piper. Mr. Piper was my parents' neighbor, a leering, cherry-faced idiot who was forever getting drunk and crashing his car into telephone poles. Everywhere you went you encountered telephone poles and road signs leaning dangerously in testimony to Mr. Piper's driving habits. He distributed them all over the west side of town rather in the way dogs mark trees. Mr. Piper was the nearest possible human equivalent to Fred Flintstone, but less charming. He was a Shriner and a Republican -- a Nixon Republican -- and he appeared to feel he had a mission in life to spread offense. His favorite pastime, apart from getting drunk and crashing his car, was to get drunk and insult the neighbors, particularly us because we were Democrats, though he was prepared to insult Republicans when we weren't available.

Eventually, I grew up and moved to England. This irritated Mr. Piper almost beyond measure. It was worse than being a Democrat. Whenever I was in town, Mr. Piper would come over and chide me. "I don't know what you're doing over there with all those Limeys," he would say provocatively. "They're not clean people."

"Mr. Piper, you don't know what you're talking about," I would reply in my affected British accent. "You are a cretin." You could talk like that to Mr. Piper because (1) he was a cretin and (2) he never listened to anything that was said to him.

"Bobbi and I went over to London two years ago and our hotel room didn't even have a bathroom in it," Mr. Piper would go on. "If you wanted to take a leak in the middle of the night you had to walk about a mile down the hallway. That isn't a clean way to live."

"Mr. Piper, the English are paragons of cleanliness. It is a well-known fact that they use more soap per capita than anyone else in Europe."

Mr. Piper would snort derisively at this. "That doesn't mean diddly-squat, boy, just because they're cleaner than a bunch of Krauts and Eye-ties. My God, a dog's cleaner than a bunch of Krauts and Eye-ties. And I'll tell you something else: If his daddy hadn't bought Illinois for him, John F. Kennedy would never have been elected president."

I had lived around Mr. Piper long enough not to be thrown by this abrupt change of tack. The theft of the 1960 presidential election was a longstanding plaint of his, one that he brought into the conversation every ten or twelve minutes regardless of the prevailing drift of the discussion. In 1963, during Kennedy's funeral, someone in the Waveland Tap punched Mr. Piper in the nose for making that remark. Mr. Piper was so furious that he went straight out and crashed his car into a telephone pole. Mr. Piper is dead now, which is of course one thing that Des Moines prepares you for.

When I was growing up I used to think that the best thing about coming from Des Moines was that it meant you didn't come from anywhere else in Iowa. By Iowa standards, Des Moines is a mecca of cosmopolitanism, a dynamic hub of wealth and education, Where people wear three-piece suits and dark socks, often simultaneously. During the annual state high-school basketball tournament, when the hayseeds from out in the state would flood into the city for a week, we used to accost them downtown and snidely offer to show them how to ride an escalator or negotiate a revolving door. This wasn't always so far from reality. My friend Stan, when he was about sixteen, had to go and stay with his cousin in some remote, dusty hamlet called Dog Water or Dunceville or some such improbable spot -- the kind of place where if a dog gets run over by a truck everybody goes out to have a look at it. By the second week, delirious with boredom, Stan insisted that he and his cousin drive the fifty miles into the county town, Hooterville, and find something to do. They went bowling at an alley with warped lanes and chipped balls and afterwards had a chocolate soda and looked at a Playboy in a drugstore, and on the way home the cousin sighed with immense satisfaction and said, "Gee thanks, Stan. That was the best time I ever had in my whole life!" It's true.

I had to drive to Minneapolis once, and I went on a back road just to see the country. But there was nothing to see... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

"High-spirited... hilarious" (Observer)

"Hilarious... he can be suave, sarcastic and very funny... not your typical travel writer" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Funny as this wonderful book is, it is also a serious indictment of the American way of life and the direction in which it is going... he is genuinely shocked, as we are, by the statistics of affluence, poverty, crime and culture that he drops in hither and thither" (Irish Times)

"A very funny performance, littered with wonderful lines and memorable images" (Literary Review)

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 384 pages
  • Editeur : Black Swan; Édition : New Ed (2 janvier 1999)
  • Collection : Roman
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0552998087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552998086
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,6 x 19,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.6 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (5 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 9.413 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 J adore 26 décembre 2012
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Je collectione les livres cet auteur, je le trouve tres drole, etrant anglaise j apprecie beaucoup son humour, si vous voulez voyager en le vrai amerique sans quitter votre fauteil, je vous recommend celui ci,
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Pas son meilleur ouvrage 2 septembre 2011
Par Vixx
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Ce livre est agréable à lire, mais c'est loin d'être le plus amusant et le mieux écrit. Il n'est pas non plus très informatif, malgré les apparences. A réserver donc plutôt pour les "fans" qui ne savent vraiment plus quoi se mettre sous la dent !
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 L'Amérique de Bryson 19 janvier 2011
Format:Broché
Un livre qui nous montre les USA et leurs habitants avec beaucoup d'humour, et où l'auteur, malgré ses origines américaines ne manque pas de souligner - ou plutôt de surligner - les défauts des ses semblables! Tout en restant sincère, Bill Bryson nous livre ici un carnet de route comme lui seul sait en faire, c'est-à-dire drôle, décalé, un brin moqueur sans jamais manquer de respect, et toujours sincère. Un bon moment de détente, qui retrace le voyage de l'auteur à travers les routes américaines. Un voyage qui se termine trop rapidement! On en redemande!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 bill bryson the lost continent 16 février 2010
Format:Broché
apres pres de 20 ans passés au RU, bill bryson retourne dans son pays natal.Hilarant!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Merveilleusement écrit 8 septembre 2008
L'évaluation d'un enfant
Format:Broché
L'apparente légèreté de Bryson fait passer de puissants messages. Hilarant & profond. A mettre entre toutes les mains!
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