One Kiss or Two? In Search of the Perfect Greeting by Andy Scott - review by Thomas Blaikie

Thomas Blaikie

Mwah, Mwah

One Kiss or Two? In Search of the Perfect Greeting


Duckworth Overlook 303pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Andy Scott’s book is a study of greetings throughout history, but it is not an etiquette guide. I don’t much care for Andy as a name, especially not when it belongs to someone who hangs around Heathrow Airport observing how people greet their friends and relations in the arrivals hall. How can this man have been a diplomat? An anorak, more like, crossed with an annoying alternative person busing through Africa in deliberate discomfort trying to find the perfect salutation – as practised, ideally, by some unknown tribe with complicated hair and body piercings.

Well, these are exactly the kinds of sweeping, often disagreeable and snobbish judgements we make of each other on meeting – as the author ably demonstrates. No wonder greeting is such a nightmare. Quite soon, I got to like Andy a lot more, particularly once it became clear

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

East of the Wardrobe

Follow Literary Review on Twitter