Bill Bryson

 

A Walk in the Woods

 

Solid enjoyable craft.

 

Bryson is an able anecdotalist, and the book soars when he describes some extraordinary characters; if he exaggerates a little here and there (and maybe he didnít), thatís OK. But itís not as if he populates the whole Appalachian Trail with increasingly obvious fabrications Ė when there arenít any incidents to report he wisely falls back on interesting historical, biological, environmental, political, social Ö whatever Ö research. Each chapter is a deliberately self-contained bite, and the way I enjoyed (and Iíd recommend) reading the book. I would be surprised if he wasnít, or hadnít been, a columnist, with a honed ability to keep to a word limit that matches attention spans. I was impressed that I enjoyed the whole book, which, when you get down to it, is a pretty rare thing. His style is very readable, and his sense of humour permeates the narrative.

 

March 2007