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Most British travel writers head south for a destination that is hot, exotic, dangerous or all three. Harry Pearson chose to head in the opposite direction for a country which is damp, safe and of legendary banality: Belgium. But can any nation whose most famous monument is a statue of a small boy urinating really be that dull? Pearson lived there for several months, burying himself in the local culture. He drank many of the 800 different beers the Belgians produce; ate local delicacies such as kip kap (jellied pig cheeks) and a mighty tonnage of chicory and chips. In one restaurant the house speciality was 'Hare in the style of grandmother'. 'I didn't order it. I quite like hare, but had no wish to see one wearing zip-up boots and a blue beret.' A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND commemorates strange events such as The Festival of Shrimps at Oostduinkerke and laments the passing of the Underpant Museum in Brussels. No reader will go away from A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND without being able to name at least ten famous Belgians. Mixing evocative description and low-grade buffoonery Harry Pearson paints a portrait of Belgium that is more rounded than a Smurf after a night on the mussels.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349112060
ISBN-10: 0349112061
Format: Paperback
(195mm x 127mm x 18mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 2-Sep-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Belgium is a land which is renowned for being inconspicuous. But apparently, it's all camouflage; there's plenty of solid eccentricity underneath. 'It has been a tradition for British writers to head south... for the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Pacific. I might have followed them. But I am a Northerner and I burn easily. And besides, I once met a man in Murton, County Durham, who had been to Samarkand, and he said the beer was piss.' This is Pearson's premise for his book, which sets out to explore Belgian culture in full. Examining everything from a festival at which councillors swallow live fish to a group of men who dress up as clowns and tell each other lies, to a film director who ran a museum devoted to displaying underpants, he exposes the country's brand of eccentricity in all its glory. His publishers call the book 'funny and affectionate'. Certainly, if anyone can make you feel affectionate towards Belgium, Pearson, also the author of Racing Pigs and Giant Marrows, is the man. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Harry Pearson

Harry Pearson was born on the day Petula Clark had her first number one hit single. His cousin is married to the chairman of the Rare Breeds Society. He is very tall.

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