Richard Davenport-Hines

Places To Go, People To See…

Contact!

By

Faber & Faber 202pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Taxi drivers only want to talk to me about footballers – David Beckham if I am lucky, Nobby Stiles if I am not. For Jan Morris, taxi conversations are evidently exotic, comic and football-free. ‘Are you a man or a woman?’, a Fijian taxi driver asked her as they drove from an airport. ‘I am a respectable, rich, middle-aged English widow,’ she replied. ‘Good,’ he said, as he put his hand on her knee, ‘that’s just what I want.’ A Beirut cab driver chatters away like the Fonz in American prime time’s Happy Days: ‘Say, what you say we stop for a sundae?’, ‘How d’ya feel like a Coke, baby?’, ‘Dig those crazy guys!’. These are just two episodes from a book peppered with mild jolts, gentle quirks and agreeable cultural disjunctions. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,