- Title: The Angry Island: Hunting the English
- Author: A.A. Gill
- ISBN: 9781416545606
- Page: 155
- Format: ebook
Think of England, and anger hardly springs to mind as its primary national characteristic Yet in The Angry Island, A A Gill argues that, in fact, it is plain old fury that is the wellspring for England s accomplishments The default setting of England is anger The English are naturally, congenitally, collectively and singularly livid much of the time They re incensed,Think of England, and anger hardly springs to mind as its primary national characteristic Yet in The Angry Island, A A Gill argues that, in fact, it is plain old fury that is the wellspring for England s accomplishments The default setting of England is anger The English are naturally, congenitally, collectively and singularly livid much of the time They re incensed, incandescent, splenetic, prickly, touchy, and fractious They can be mildly annoyed, really annoyed and, most scarily, not remotely annoyed They sit apart on their half of a damply disappointing little island, nursing and picking at their irritations The English itch inside their own skins They feel foreign in their own country and run naked through their own heads 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, cul de sacs 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 The Angry Island by turns attacks and praises the English, bringing up numerous points of debate for Anglophiles and anyone who wonders about the origins of national identity This book hunts down the causes and the results of being the Angry Island.
Recent Comments "The Angry Island: Hunting the English"
"England's default setting is anger: lapel-poking, Chinese-burning, ram-raiding, street-shouting, sniping, spitting, shoving,vengeful, inventive rage. But many of the traits and tics that make the English so singular and occasionally admirable are the deflective mechanisms that they've invented to diffuse anger. The tolls and speed bumps and diversions of anger. Not giving in to your nature is very English, clinging on, white-knuckled, bottling the urges, refusing to slide into spittle-flecked r [...]
2.5 stars. I love AA Gill's pieces in Vanity Fair and was curious what his longer-form writing might be like. He has witty wordplay and can turn a sharp phrase. This was a little too sharp for me - there is a not very fine line between sarcasm and racism and unfortunately Gill spends too much time on the wrong side of that line. His hatred of the English is not satire or good-natured; it's a very real anger that fuels some very real attacks.The collection of essays touch on a truly bewildering a [...]
Most foreign observers of the English – like American Bill Bryson – typically focus on the charm or silliness of British culture and manners. But Gill, a native who originally hails from Scotland (despite his Received Pronunciation accent today), skewers his homeland and culture in a take-no-prisoners way. He’s cruel, never to be kind. (My apologies to the Bard of Avon.)Gill’s strongest criticism about his native land is the English propensity to romanticize the past. He completely disma [...]
It's interesting to read what an Englishman thinks of England and its people. And in the case of A.A. Gill, he doesn't like his fellow citizens that much. Yet, there is a certain amount of grace and understanding of his fellow Brits. But nevertheless this is sort of a sad book. Especially the drinking part of the book, which is also a big part of contemporary British culture. As an American I find the U.K. fascinating. We speak the same (sort of ) language, yet culturally we are so far apart. I [...]
I saw recommendation of this book somewhere and borrowed it from the library. What a trash it turned out to be! The author just keeps showing off his command of rare archaic words to express his bigoted ideas. The first few chapters were particularly horrible! But being a person who does not give up easily, I trudged through the whole book. Oh, gosh, what a torture!
3.5 starsThis book of essays about England starts off strong. The best chapters Face, Voice, Class, Memorials, Cotswolds are towards the beginning. The essays then gradually become less interesting.This is a writer unafraid to offend, and all the better for it.The best observation: "Regional accents in America are regional from top to bottom, though they may be stronger or thicker in working-class mouths, but essentially you speak the same as everyone around you. Not so the English."
A creative appraisal of the island, or part-island's national character. Could almost substitute Canada for Scotland in the opening chapter, as the mouse to elephant relationship it has to the US is similarly tangled/complicated.A.A. Gill dispassionately examines English-ness in a manner similar to how a Canadian would an American - by passing for one of 'em. Scot-born, but with an RP (received pronunciation/BBC - a la Gordon Ramsay when he's not cussing up a storm) accent and a life spent in a [...]
I did read this quite quickly and enjoyed much of it, but I couldn't help comparing it to Kate Fox's Watching the English. Maybe it's because of my scientific background, or maybe it's because I get so scared by shouty people, but I found her descriptions of behaviours she had observed while seeking evidence to develop a description of what it means to be English as entertaining, less superficial, and in many ways more true than Gill's rant. He seems to have started from the opposite end: this i [...]
A.A.Gill protests too much, of course, ascribing much of his own sham anger to the English that he describes. This makes for cuttingly witty prose, but after a few chapters, it does get to be a bit one-note. Gill is at his best where he engages in serious cultual criticism, as in his discussion of British war monuments, or the vestigial class system that continues to affect many people's daily reality. So, an instructive and often entertaining read, but not one I'll return to often. (As a side n [...]
This collection of essays starts with the premise that the defining characteristic of England is anger and looks at a number of things through that prism. At times this works better than at others - the essays on Political Correctness and Letchworth Garden City, to name two, fail to live up to their promise. Oddly, he's left out several topics that one would have thought were fertile ground for his anger (eg, Education).The reality is that Gill is the Angry Essayist, albeit one with a sense of h [...]
A book I constantly and regularly return to especially since I've now taken up the baton of travel writing. I have read Gill for over twenty years in the TLS and he is a great writer and stylist. In life and in art, if we can believe what we read, and we can't, he says and does terrible things. As a TV critic he knows how to maul and slash and scratch. In other words the man's a bitch, the kind who you admire but never like, the kind you laugh along with but would be reluctant to take on. Still [...]
I made it to page 30 before giving up. I don't want to read any more about what Mr. Gill thinks about England and its people, and I couldn't even finish the chapter about postcards and portraits. Zzz. While I found the subject matter dull, I didn't think Gill was a terrible writer. Yet I was hoping he would be clever and witty, and he was neither. Maybe it's *me*, but since I am a member of ALL (Anonymous Literary Losers--though I guess I'm not so anonymous any more), I get a pass. If you're anx [...]
Just very, very, annoying (does that prove his hypothesis?). I read this based on a quote for it that I thought was very true, but the book failed to live up to this in a big way. Excessive generalisations and dodgy conclusions abound, with the book full of stupidities like: "When I got back to London a week after the announcement that London had won the bid, no one mentioned the Olympics, it had become rather embarrassing" (or just maybe the horrendous terrorist attack London experienced just a [...]
Another Scot author who has spent most of his life in London a critic and features writer for the London Times. The books premise is that the English are the way they are, good mannered, queue lining, gardeners, etc etc to hide their seething anger that lies within. A funny book thats meant to be funny (I think) it loses me at times with societal and idiomatic references that my English relatives would know. One review blurb from The Daily Mail (London) called it "Utterly bloody rude" so I had [...]
I could read AA Gill's writing all day, everyday. In this fearless parody of England, Gill attacks every aspect of Englishness, pointing and cackling at their arrogance, insensitivity and overwhelming pride. Gill leaves no stone unturned; English humour, English war memorials, English accents, English faces, English class systems and even the Cotswolds are all analysed and mocked in AA Gill's scintillatingly sardonic tone.
Found the whole thing completely up its own backside. It began with a lengthy piece discussing portraits, presuming that the reader intimately knows each portrait by name. Sad to say, my weariness with the dreary prose meant I couldn't finish it. Elitist, self - opinionated rubbish. The world needs more forests, let's stop cutting 'em down to print this crap.
A. A. Gill is a very biting, clever man. And he can be very cruel.But my goodness, is he ever funny.This is a look at what makes England England. Although he's definitely an insider, having lived there since he was a baby, he looks at England as an outsider (he was born in Scotland) and his observations make for a very enjoyable read.
After reading several chapters of this book, I did something I never do and decided not to waste my time on it. In short, Gill is an Englishman who doesn't feel like he belongs in the culture. So he skewers it.I happen to love many things about the British culture and got really BORED of him railing against stupid, silly things. There was no point. I didn't get it.
A strangely hate filled, bullying, jealous, angry rant against the English, whic isveverything he claims the English are and yet he doesn't seem to recognise any of those characteristics in himself. Identifies himself as a Scot despite living and being educated in England and never choosing to live in Scotland. Deluded.
This book was awful. The author came across as an angry Jock who is extremely bitter about the fact that he lives in England, and uses unnecessarily big words to ramble nonsense and whinge about the English. I'll never get those minutes of my life back that I spent trying to read this book, and now I'm the angry, bitter one.
Apparently this is not a patch on Table Talk but it's been a fairly enjoyable read. You seen some truths and snort over other ridiculous statements. It's all opinion after all. It is amusing how Gill protests that he's actually not English thank you very much, throughout the book.
Boy, he doesn't half get a load of fancy words in. Think I prefer his restaurant and TV reviews but there are good chapters to dip in and out of. I might however dip out having reached 'The Cotswolds' and start on something less likely to make me irritable.
I thought A A Gill was the most English of English but it seems he is a Scot and therefore has an outsider's view of the English as a people. But it is as if he is forcing himself to be critical of the English ultimately he is attacking traits in himself.
This is not exactly the book I'm reading (so I chose something else by the same author!) - I am reading "Previous Convictions" by A.A. Gill, the biting, satirical and self proclaimed "most widely read columnist in Britian". So far, not that impressed
I love Gill. His command of English can be quite poetic and never fails to teach me a new word or three. This book was no exception. A frank and honest reflection on some of or our more distinct characteristics, highlighting the foibles, charms and absurdities or the English.
A clever-clever book that makes you laugh & groan in equal measure, like Bill Bryson on steroids. The author's conceit is exhausting. There are many witty turns of phrase but all that remains of this Cheshire cat by the end of the book is an empty sneer.
Witty. Funny. Mordant. Unless you're English. Then you'll probably find it offensive and annoying; maybe gratuitous enough to make you angry. But you'll control your anger. Apparently that's your greatest strength: you're English so you can control your anger.Good show, old chap.
A great and informative read, with snark and wit the whole way through. However, this is a book written for the English or those who have lived among them. Without previous experience, this will be a confusing read in parts for people in the US.
I was required to read this book before going on my undergraduate study abroad trip to London. Our advisor insisted upon it. I can't thank him enough. It was such a funny, insightful book, and I absolutely loved reading it. I have suggested others read it, at least the chapter on tea.
An interesting collection of essays about the nature of the English by an irritated Scotsman. The basic premise is that the English don't treasure manners and fair-play as goals in themselves, but as bases for being pissed off at everyone else.
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