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"The house is like its master", states a Finnish Proverb, which greets the reader at the beginning of the book. Gaynor depicts Finland to the reader in both black and white and incredibly vivid color. Her narratives throughout the book are wonderful and one will feel that they are totally immersed into the experience of touring the countryside with the author! The richness of the people, portrayed through their simplistic lifestyle, is very much evident.
The reader is also bought into the design of the exterior of the buildings and I loved the pictures of all the different doorways! The taste of the architectural adventure and history is a treat! Sources are also listed at the back of the book if one wishes to purchase Finnish furniture or accessories.
I heartily recommend this book, whether one is contemplating a trip to this Nordic country, or whether one has a fascination for the culture and experience of Finland. This book will easily feed your fascination as you cannot help but devour chapter after chapter! The photographer, Kari Haavisto, is also to be commended for the beauty of the land as seen through her eyes. The reader will definitely walk away with a more revered perspective for the people, their land, and their lifestyle.
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McFadden mixes fiction and non-fiction together as he tells the story of his family's road trip in a Volkswagen camper around Lake Erie. He later wrote about their travel adventures as they toured the Lake Huron area. He had planned to write about trips around each of the Great Lakes, but then his kids grew up and he got a divorce. Ten years after he went around Erie and Huron, he finally tackled Lake Ontario alone, except for a three-man film crew that followed behind him and tried to stay out of his tale.
The reader is never sure whether McFadden is telling the truth or making it up. It doesn't detract from the story. Actually, it's a hoot when you come across the surreal parts of his tales. At one point in "A Trip Around Lake Erie," dead fish somehow migrate from the beach at Point Pelee to every room in the McFadden's Hamilton, Ontario home.
Each short chapter (many lasting less than one page) is a sly little poem. A movie scriptwriter had told McFadden that to make these books more saleable, he should have someone chasing him. McFadden doesn't need such Hollywood conventions. His stories of the road and his many digressions (including bicycling kinesiologists and a brown dachsund named Schenley, because his owners like the whisky)are a fanciful read in themselves.
I hope McFadden eventually makes it around Superior and Lake Michigan. Even if he doesn't, there's enough humor and magic in this fine trilogy to keep you smiling for years.
I also recommend a fourth McFadden road trip, "A Typical Canadian Family Visits Disney World," which is a hilarious long poem that is not included here, along with his other novels, poems and essays.
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Davy highlighted the issue of negative attitudes towards "incomers" in the Highlands,something which most visitors would be unaware of.Good for you Davy, these things need to be aired .
On the whole , I suspect that Davy's view of the Scots may be rather skewed , given that he only seemed to meet people in B&Bs and late night in pubs, thus missing out on whole sections of this fascinating, charming and intelligent population!
By the way,Davy,in case you're reading this : visit Arbroath next time and try the local delicacy -Arbroath SMOKIES.Delicious smoked haddock.I doubt that anyone in Arbroath has heard of Arbroath stovies , unless they,ve read your book !
Overall, an enjoyable ,quirky and gently humorous book.For Scots, it gives us the chance "To see oursels as ithers see us "
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