read_warbler (read_warbler) wrote,

In Ethopia With a Mule - Dervla Murphy

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When it comes to female travel writers Dervla Murphy would probably rank in the top ten, if not the top five. Time was if you mentioned you liked reading the odd travel book the first thing people would say was, 'Have you read Dervla Murphy?' Well, no I hadn't and I'm not really sure why. Avoiding her just to be perverse I think. So, In Ethiopia With a Mule (written in the late 60s) was my first foray into the Irish writer's many travel books and, strange to say, I'm actually thinking this may not be her best book. It wasn't that I hated it... I think it was just too much of the same all the way through. She climbed mountains in the highlands of Ethiopia and she stayed in villages with the natives. Over and over. There wasn't an awful lot more to it than that. It was nicely written with a few amusing and pointed observations and also some beautiful descriptions. The poor mule, Jock, I felt very sorry for, soft-hearted fool that I am. And there were one or two adventures on the way - she was robbed several times for instance - which livened it up a bit. So I don't know why I'm not brimming with praise for this 'not bad' book but somehow or other I found it lacking. A quick mosey round her books on Amazon informs me that she's been all over the place, Peru, Siberia, the Indian subcontinent, South Africa, some of which sound a bit more interesting so I will definitely see if the library has any of those and give them a try. I'm not willing to give up on Dervla Murphy just yet.
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