Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988-1998 (Palin Diaries 3)

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Palin shows himself in these diaries to be an acute observer as well as a champion curator of an anecdote...the best sort of convivial read, like having a gossip with an old friend over a few drinks... Travelling to Work is a delight. It is a book you find yourself devouring in a great greedy session (Helen Davies THE SUNDAY TIMES)

Michael Palin introduces his splendid new volume of diaries by saying that he was juggling three careers during the decade it covers... the life it records is so phenomenally varied... How he finds time to update his diary is a mystery. Update it he does though and he does so with fluency, wit, glowing affability and lightning flashes of anger... Weaving between observation and introspection, he comes up with a pithy phrase to describe everything from a Suffolk sunset to the end of apartheid but he sparkles most brightly when evoking the speech and the personality of his associates (Nicholas Barber SUNDAY EXPRESS)

Filled with amusing and revealing anecdotes (like the time he discovered Cleese was writing jokes for the Dalai Lama). The book also charts Palin's reincarnation as a television adventurer and opens with him embarking on the filming of Around the World in 80 Days (Elizabeth Day OBSERVER FOOD MONTHLY)

This volume takes in a remarkably prolific period... As well as four BBC travel series not covered in depth since he has written separate books on them, the decade includes promotional work for A Fish Called Wanda; the making of Fierce Creatures, a sequel of sorts; the tortuous progress towards getting American Friends, a film about his great-grandfather, off the ground; a role in a Nora Ephron film (eventually left on the cutting-room floor); and a debut novel, Hemingway's Chair, written in only four months. There also frequent rows with the other Pythons about a reunion. As the book ends John Cleese is keen on them putting on a show at the Millennium Dome. It would take them another 15 years to do it (Patrick Kidd THE TIMES)

He is nice, there's no getting away from it, not even for him. In these diaries Michael Palin often wearies of being told how nice he is by reviewers of his hugely popular travel programmes... It's his USP as a TV star and the primary appeal of these diaries, too. Halfway through shooting Around the World in 80 Days, the first of the series that turned him into such an adored national figure, he reflects: "My contribution, I think, will not be precision, analysis and revelation but honesty, directness, openness and enthusiasm." That describes his writing just as well. These diaries record an astonishingly successful career... Yet he never becomes objectionable; he always keeps that saving touch of everyman, if not quite Mr Pooter, a nobody. Given the fact that so much of the book is taken up with earnest descriptions of thespy business, the travails of acting, writing and putting on films and plays, these diaries are remarkably good company, always dependable, never upsetting: safely enjoyable, page after page. And that's quite a triumph of tone... Up and down the land, Travelling to Work is going to be gratefully received this Christmas. Nice! (David Sexton EVENING STANDARD)

At first you think how lucky Palin is to be living his life. Then, gradually, you see the dark side. He connects with you in a lovely way, which is very calming (William Leith THE SPECTATOR Books of the Year)

Vom Verlag:

10 years in different directions. The third volume of Michael Palin's celebrated diaries.

TRAVELLING TO WORK is the third volume of Michael Palin's widely acclaimed diaries. After the Python years and a decade of filming, writing and acting, Palin's career takes an unexpected detour into travel, which will shape his working life for the next 25 years. Yet, as the diaries reveal, he remained ferociously busy on a host of other projects throughout this whirlwind period.

TRAVELLING TO WORK opens in September 1988 with Michael travelling down the Adriatic on the first leg of a modern-day AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. He was not the BBC's first choice for the series, but after its success and that of the accompanying book the public naturally wanted more. Palin, though, had other plans. Following the tumultuous success of A FISH CALLED WANDA, he is in demand as an actor. His next film, AMERICAN FRIENDS, is based on his great-grandfather's diaries. Next he takes on his most demanding role as the head teacher in Alan Bleasdale's award-winning drama series GBH. There is also his West End play, THE WEEKEND, and a first novel, HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR, and a lead role in FIERCE CREATURES, the much-delayed follow-up to WANDA. Michael describes himself as 'drawn to risk like a moth to a flame. Someone grounded and safe who can be tempted into almost anything.' He duly finds time for two more travel series, POLE TO POLE in 1991, FULL CIRCLE in 1996, and two more bestselling books to accompany them.

These latest diaries show a man grasping every opportunity that came his way, and they deal candidly with the doubts and setbacks that accompany this prodigious work-rate. As ever, his family life, with three children growing up fast, is there to anchor him.

TRAVELLING TO WORK is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page to his ever-growing army of fans.

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