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Turning down O’Hanlon

Mark Ford, 7 December 1989

In Trouble Again: A Journey between the Orinoco and the Amazon 
by Redmond O’Hanlon.
Penguin, 368 pp., £3.99, October 1989, 0 14 011900 0
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Our Grandmothers’ Drums: A Portrait of Rural African Life and Culture 
by Mark Hudson.
Secker, 356 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 436 20959 4
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Borderlines: A Journey in Thailand and Burma 
by Charles Nicholl.
Secker, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 436 30980 7
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... coincidence of naturally diverse events, or the performance of a long and intricate ritual’. Redmond O’Hanlon sees his own career as a bird-watcher originating along similar lines to this but rather more romantically. It all began when he was four and three-quarters. A mistle-thrush dropped half of an empty eggshell at his feet on the lawn of the ...
Congo Journey 
by Redmond O’Hanlon.
Hamish Hamilton, 480 pp., £18, October 1996, 0 241 12768 8
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... Redmond O’Hanlon’s account of a journey to Borneo, undertaken with the poet James Fenton, was a grand deception, in which the ostensible search for an indigenous rhinoceros on the slopes of a mountain fastness turned out to be so much camouflage. Clues as to what was really happening could be glimpsed in the structure of O’Hanlon’s narrative ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... chums from other disciplines – Clive James, Craig Raine, James Fenton, Christopher Hitchens, Redmond O’Hanlon’. Together, novelists and ‘chums’ are not unlike a coterie of window-cleaners crowded onto a single boatswain’s chair (or rather bench): each time one of them tugs on his rope, they all move a little higher up the skyscraper of ...

Enfield was nothing

P.N. Furbank: Norman Lewis, 18 December 2003

The Tomb in Seville 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 150 pp., £14.99, November 2003, 0 224 07120 3
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... things which, for good or evil, Evelyn Waugh and Peter Fleming and Robert Byron, not to mention Redmond O’Hanlon, assume to be the heart of travel writing. This leads us to the reflection that travel writing, or anyway the best sort, only pretends to be informative. The author, out of self-respect, and by mugging up or other means, certainly amasses ...

Behind the Waterfall

Lorna Scott Fox, 16 November 1995

The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado 
by Charles Nicholl.
Cape, 396 pp., £18.99, May 1995, 0 224 03333 6
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... gold can cure.’ This is classic travelogue with none of the insidious catastrophism of, say, a Redmond O’Hanlon, beautifully observed (a prospector holds his breath over a speck of ore with ‘the obsessive delicacy of a user handling cocaine’, and graced by characters like golden-mouthed Javicl: ‘He flew into Miami once and they asked if he had ...

Best Remain Seated

Jeremy Harding: Travel guides, 1 January 1998

Kenya 
by Hugh Finlay and Geoff Crowther.
Lonely Planet, 376 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 86442 460 4
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Borneo 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 632 pp., £13.95, December 1995, 1 56952 026 7
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Asia's Top Dive Sites 
edited by Fiona Nichols and Michael Stachels.
Fielding, 228 pp., £13.95, December 1996, 1 56952 129 8
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Jon Murray et al.
Lonely Planet, 658 pp., £13.99, January 1998, 0 86442 508 2
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Southern Africa 
by Richard Cox.
Thornton Cox, 474 pp., £11.95, July 1995, 0 7818 0388 8
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The World's Most Dangerous Places 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 1048 pp., £13.95, December 1997, 1 56952 104 2
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Barbara McCrea et al.
Rough Guides, 697 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85828 238 1
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The Good Honeymoon Guide 
by Lucy Horne.
Trailblazer, 320 pp., £11.95, March 1997, 1 873756 12 7
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Amnesty International Report 1997 
Amnesty International, 378 pp., £18, June 1997, 0 86210 267 7Show More
Morocco 
by Barnaby Rogerson.
Cadogan, 596 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 1 86011 043 6
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... once to more interesting accounts of Central Africa by Westerners (Conrad, Roger Casement, Hergé, Redmond O’Hanlon, anything but RPY). But this guide for people who live in a fog of adrenaline scores high by including the United States on its list, proudly sandwiched between Russia and ‘Zaire’ under ‘Criminal Places’. In the US, Dangerous ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... could expand into Romania and Czechoslovakia. Belinda was the wife of the eccentric traveller Redmond O’Hanlon. ‘Mac’ was a right-wing bigot, anti-Communist, interested in ‘preserving the traditional fabric of British life’. Marks’s account, at this point, takes a dive into the worst kind of fiction, the kind that’s true. ‘My first ...

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