Backwards Out Of The Big World - review by Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler

Once So Great

Backwards Out Of The Big World

HarperCollins 261pp £18 order from our bookshop

Hyland's journey begins and ends in 'crumbly old layer-cake Lisbon’, and in between he follows the Tagus, lingering over whatever real or metaphorical tributary takes his fancy. When he crosses the river, to Cacilhas, it is a literal rite of passage.

He fossicks about happily, allowing the chance discoveries of the journey to direct his thoughts and movement (or he beguiles us that it is so). The poet Fernando Pessoa, guiding spirit of the modern nation, looms like a giant over the text, and there are walk-on parts for Henry Fielding

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