Jack gets to write the Monday book review this week –
Molvanîa : A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry – Santo Cilauro et al.
This is a very funny spoof travel guide to a fictitious Eastern European country and is presented as part of a series called ‘Jetlag Travel Guides’. Cilauro and his co-authors capture the character of the ‘Lonely Planet’ guides wonderfully and the humor mostly succeeds by sitting on top of that.
This is the kind of book that you can happily dip into wherever you want as there’s no narrative involved, however I have to admit that I eventually began to feel a bit uneasy as I did just that. Why uneasy? Well, I have visited quite a few Eastern European countries and like anywhere they all have their pros and cons. Some of the humor in this book began to come over as cruel and I wondered how I would have felt if I came from Romania or Slovakia (two places I have visited a number of times) instead of Scotland. In fact they could have easily done the ‘Jetlag Travel Guide’ of Scotland that could have been just as un-flattering.
But that’s just me and I should try to take a step back and give the book more of a chance.
The humor works best where you can see that the authors had great fun inventing the language, place names and culture as well as choosing photographs and compiling maps. There’s a very funny advert for ‘Go Touro Molv’ under 25 group travel too.
There’s obviously a lot of enjoyable work here by the folk who put it together and it’s in the detail that the funniest nuggets are to be found.
As an example let me present a paragraph from ‘Where to Eat’ –
“Lutenblag’s dining scene is vibrant and ever changing, with new establishments opening every month or so and older ones regularly being closed down by sanitation inspectors. Sadly, some restaurants, particularly the tourist oriented ones, often fall into the habit of ’embellishing’ tourists’ bills – – -”
I bought this book at ‘Downtown Books and News’ in Asheville NC – a really excellent bookstore!