Dervla Murphy Travel Writer.

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Dervla Murphy Travel Writer.

Post by Hafiz »

At the other end of the travel writing spectrum is that old war horse travel writer Dervla Murphy. She’s unfashionable amongst the barely literate great unwashed because she focuses on the truth and can actually write plain and elegant English – not just romantic, flowery PR gush.

Writer of dozens of books many in the troubled third world. She has a 'certain view' about travel and how it should be about sharing experiences - or just having an opinion. In one book she describes a 25-year-old American she sees as typical of those she met along the route: “For them, travel is more a going away from rather than going toward, and they seem empty and unhappy and bewildered and pathetically anxious for companionship, yet are afraid to commit themselves to any ideal or cause or other individual.” ... years.html

Many on this forum would have noticed similar.

The poor old thing usually cycles – often in rough, dangerous places but greens and others ignore this because of her clear and frank descriptions – which destroy their need for romance. In the early 60’s she cycled from Europe to India long before the hippies fouled this route.

She links culture, people (particularly ordinary people), geography, history, economics and politics and was in the Romanian countryside when the murderous regime fell and her description of local response to seeing the dreadful leaders vivisected on live TV screened in town halls is memorable and awful. Her very early description of how AIDS was spread in Southern Africa by long distance truck drivers was years ahead of the WHO’s ‘revelations’.

A particular feature is her eye for the distinctive and vivid differences between people – some good and some not so good – but always a lot less than we have in common. Her books contain no hotel recommendations – except recommendations on places to stay away from and a deal of humor. Occasionally she carries a gun.

In simple terms she gives a clear, vivid description of places rather than focusing on how the world is reassuringly the same. She occupies a gap with the tons of promotional garbage (including Bill Bryson) on one side and erudite V S Naipaul and similar on the other. The deranged and fantastical Chatwin goes in the liars and narcissists bin. O’Hanlon, Jan Morris and Hoagland are probably in her territory. I’ve never been a fan of Theroux so I should probably be silent on him.

Some London opinions about her: ... 95587.html ... anreview11

Her view is that modern travel writing is often fictionalized and, to make it ‘interesting’, authors are often told to make things up. I think she’s probably right.

She has sympathy for the underdog and has been attacked as anti Israeli ... 46386.html

One change she regrets is the adoption by so many of personal stereos, mobile phones and the headphones that go with them, with which they lock out everyone around them – including the travel writer dependent on chance encounters. In the old days, she says, travellers in a hostel would gather in the evening and exchange experiences and opinions. When she was in Jaffa, they barely acknowledged one another. “I watched in amazement as they queued up silently to take their turn at the computers, to communicate with the boyfriend or the parents or whoever back home. And I said to myself, 'Why the hell don’t they stay at home?’ ” ... -computer/

She probably now likes that old song ‘why do the wrong people travel when the right people stay back home’, Chesterton on how travel narrows the mind or this Spectator rant about how horrible all human beings are – when on holiday. ... -the-mind/

Here is that old trooper and superb performer Stritch singing Coward.

Andy Simons in his review of Dervla Murphy's book "Between River and Sea : Encounters in Israel and Palestine" says: “At over 400 pages, this volume is almost bursting with things you probably don't know: Rape is not yet a crime; an "International" can marry a Palestinian, but don't be surprised if the native spouse gets arrested on no charge and then held indefinitely; an Israeli judge can change his own verdict; and five legal systems coexist in the OPT, even Ottoman.” ... fc548ccd67

At 80 in 2011 and faced with psychopathic Egyptian bureaucracy she got into Gaza via a 1 mile tunnel. She never travelled in Egypt and didn’t like it. Most of the 3 ½ star plus travel writers are of the same opinion – possibly all.

She is an acquired taste. Many people don’t like her. Whether you like her or not is an almost fail-safe litmus test of important other things.

At the end of her life she should cycle Brexit, Le Pen and Trump territory – and take a gun.

The Times and other posh London newspapers don’t think bog Irish worth interviewing but the United Arab Emirates does. ... vel-writer

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Re: Dervla Murphy Travel Writer.

Post by Who2 »

'On a lighter note:
A few months back.....
I met a 35 year old American Red Indian called Eric ? ( yeh! Eric, so what ? many indians are called Eric, 'shuttup.)
He even had a single eagle's feather stuck in his ponytail when out.
He's back in prison, so they say, awaiting deportation back to that reservation called New York.
He had a lovely blind! Husky dog called *Arkos given to him by some nutty (I'm outta here) ex-pat lady....
Some local nicked it, it happens...
I just luurve lunatics.... 8)
Eric the Indian..avec sekina!

*His name was Arkos, a warrior who no man could surpass in skill with a spear or a bow.
Given that his mother was a god he was reputed to have uncanny strength and some magic abilities.
Though not all was well, and Arkos was doomed to face a terrible fate for his birth was forbidden.

Ps: 'Iv'e met more serious 'AE nutters in my 20 years here more than in Leybourne Grange or Barming 'nut-houses....'la whaala!
Pss: Please excuse my lack of PC when mentioning 'nut-houses, I should have said 'peoples who's mental stability is seriously challenged.
In medical terms only slightly mad, usually during and after full moons...
Mind you! that electrotherapy to their brains dulled them down a bit w.t.f.
"The Salvation of Mankind lies in making everything the responsibility of All"

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