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Far and Away: The Essential A.A. Gill

Adrian Gill

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Reportage & collected journalism

A selection of the next best writing by A. A. Gill, 'by miles the most brilliant journalist of our age' (Lynn Barber).

A.A. Gill was fearsomely well-travelled. As he wrote in the introduction to his first anthology 'A.A. Gill is Away', one of his ambitions when he started out was to 'interview places' - he wanted to go somewhere, get under its skin, ask it questions, find out what made it tick. And he turned out to be a genius at this: he could make you look at the familiar with completely fresh insight, and bring the unknown into vivid focus.

This theme of travel - loosely interpreted - forms the heart of the next A. A. Gill anthology. Many of the stories he investigated still hold a real relevance: his article on the Rohingyas from 2014, for example, massively predated their situation, becoming a news story over here. His 2016 investigation of the wave of refugees into Mexico still casts a new light on a story that feeds into Donald Trump's border wall. There are some astounding set-pieces: Haile Selassie's funeral in Ethiopia; or Christmastime in Bethlehem at the turn of the millennium. Others are simply fun: Las Vegas, or a nudist beach in Greece with Jeremy Clarkson. And some of his travelling took place closer to home: a raucous night out in Humberside; joining a fishing trawler as it sets out from Scarborough into the North Sea; a reflective day spent exploring the life of Hyde Park.

Of course, the subject that many people associate with Adrian Gill is restaurant and food writing: the advantage of framing this book with travel at its heart is that it allows the inclusion of the more spectacular of his restaurant reviews - whether he is travelling to an appalling Welsh hotel, or sitting down to the last ever night at El Bulli. His brilliant and hilarious dissections of different cuisines - Greek, French, Japanese - manage to get under the skin of nations simply by looking at what is on their plate.

The Next Best of A.A. Gill collects some of his greatest writing - not a standard set of travel pieces, but subjects pulled from around the world that show all the different facets of the way he wrote: adventurous, funny, wise and always curious.

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Adrian Gill

A. A. Gill (1954-2016) was born in Edinburgh. He was the TV and restaurant critic and regular features-writer for the Sunday Times, a columnist for Esquire and contributor to Australian Gourmet Traveller. His books include A. A. Gill is Away, The Angry Island, Previous Convictions, Table Talk, Paper View, A. A. Gill is Further Away, The Golden Door and Lines in the Sand, as well as two novels and the memoir Pour Me, which was shortlisted for the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. The Best of A. A. Gill, a collection of his journalism, was published in 2017.

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