Just As Well I'm Leaving: To the Orient With Hans Christian Andersen

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Random House, Sep 8, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
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'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times

Having been dragged against his will to live in Denmark, Michael Booth discovered one of the great secrets of travel literature - Andersen's A Poet's Bazaar - a fascinating travelogue through a Europe on the cusp of revolution, by an author who invented children's literature. He discovered, too, his chance to escape Denmark.

In 1840 Andersen was also desperate to flee, writing as he sailed: 'It is just as well I am leaving, my soul is unwell!' In Germany he was enraptured both by steam travel and the fiery Franz Liszt. In sultry Naples this latent bisexual wrestled with his erotic demons before travelling to Athens (little more than a village), seeing the dervishes dance in Istanbul, and sailing home up the Danube. Booth follows him every step of the way, reflecting on Andersen's life, work and pathological self-obsession, encountering his own cast of characters, from an accommodating Hamburg prostitute to a bemused Danish Ambassador to the first ever female dervish, who whisks him off to meet her guru.

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User Review  - avatiakh - LibraryThing

When journalist Michael Booth married a Danish actress, he moved from his comfortable London world to Copenhagen and had to adjust to life in Denmark. While learning Danish he discovered the stories ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Michael Booth is the author of six books, including the international bestseller, The Almost Nearly Perfect People, winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers award for Book of the Year, and Sushi and Beyond, which won the Guild of Food Writers award.

Bibliographic information