In A Field Guide to the English, Lyall strides her way readably, eloquently and perceptively across the social, political and cultural landscape of contemporary England.
In a narrative studded with memorable anecdote and rich in humour, she explores themes as diverse as peers, politics, the media, understatement, the weather, and England's relationship with animals, alcohol and sex.
She ponders such matters as the missing link between the famous British reserve and our equally famous predilection for hooliganism, the strange process by which a collection of naughty schoolboys pass Parliamentary motions, and the revelations that history did not start in 1492, and that Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent in Mary Poppins was a travesty.
Sarah connects our essential toughness to Bronco loo paper, the Earl of Uxbridge losing his leg at Waterloo, not turning the central heating on until mid-November, and the fact that 'some of my husband's favourite puddings have stale white bread as the main ingredient.'
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Quercus Publishing
- Publication Date: 01/06/2009
- Category: Popular culture
- ISBN: 9781847247933
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by MarthaJeanne
I enjoyed this. Like any ex-pat, the author isn't always consistant about whether or not she enjoys living in the UK. Neither praising all the time, or always finding fault, but commenting on the sorts of things that outsiders notice.Loved the hedgehog chapter, but then, I love hedgehogs.
Review by Helenliz
Although abandoned is more the mark. I made it to page 50 before hurling this accross the room and into the recycling. This claims to be an amusing view of the English as seen by an American, casting her perceptive eye over the nation.<br/><br/>On the basis of the first 50 pages she is proving neither amusing nor perceptive. Thus far the topics covered include sex (with a diversion into public school, homosexuality and beatings) then parliament (concentrating solely on the poor little women MPs and how they had to overturn a nasty male environment).<br/><br/>I suggest that if Ms (not Miss or Mrs - need I say more) Lyall wishes to understand this country she stop resorting to stereotype and cliche to reinforce her preconceived ideas.