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The Angry Island: Hunting the English

Adrian Gill

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Prose: non-fiction, Travel writing

A.A Gill, a Scotsman, goes in search of the essence of England and the English.

The English are naturally, congenitally, collectively and singularly, livid much of the time. In between the incoherent bellowing of the terraces and the pursed, rigid eye-rolling of the commuter carriage, they reach the end of their tethers.

Perhaps aware that they're living on top of a keg of fulminating fury, the English have, throughout their history, come up with hundreds of ingenious and bizarre ways to diffuse anger or transform it into something benign. Good manners and queues, roundabouts and garden sheds and almost every game ever invented from tennis to bridge. They've built things, discovered stuff, made puddings, written hymns and novels and for people who don't like to talk much, they have come up with the most minutely nuanced and replete language ever spoken - just so there'll be no misunderstandings. In this hugely witty, personal and readable book, A.A Gill looks anger and the English straight in the eye.

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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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