* Subtitled 'SomeTime Amongst the Belgians', Harry Pearson's third book is a hilarious mixture of history, travel-writing and low-grade buffoonery.
Most British travel writers head south for a destination that is hot, exotic, dangerous or all three. Harry Pearson chose to head in the opposite direction for a country which is damp, safe and of legendary banality: Belgium. But can any nation whose most famous monument is a statue of a small boy urinating really be that dull Pearson lived there for several months, burying himself in the local culture. He drank many of the 800 different beers the Belgians produce; ate local delicacies such as kip kap (jellied pig cheeks) and a mighty tonnage of chicory and chips. In one restaurant the house speciality was 'Hare in the style of grandmother'. 'I didn't order it. I quite like hare, but had no wish to see one wearing zip-up boots and a blue beret.' A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND commemorates strange events such as The Festival of Shrimps at Oostduinkerke and laments the passing of the Underpant Museum in Brussels. No reader will go away from A TALL MAN IN A LOW LAND without being able to name at least ten famous Belgians. Mixing evocative description and low-grade buffoonery Harry Pearson paints a portrait of Belgium that is more rounded than a Smurf after a night on the mussels.
Pearson is as tall as he is funny and, believe me, he is very tall - THE FACE
funnier than Bill Bryson - Pete Davies, THE INDEPENDENT
[Belgium] seems a great deal more interesting at the end of the book than it did at the beginning... Pearson is really funny. Do not read this book in a public place. - Jonathan Sale