Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends

Non-Fiction - Travel
153 Pages
Reviewed on 01/19/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Philip Van Heusen for Readers' Favorite

This is one of the most interesting travel guides I have ever read. Barry Robbins has hit a home run with Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends. Barry’s approach makes this fascinating book unique. He uses the different personalities of famous people to lead the tour in each interesting stop along the path to discovering Guyana. For example, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle guides the reader through the Guyana National Museum because of Doyle’s uncanny ability to notice detail and his insatiable desire for knowledge. Can you imagine the pirate Blackbeard giving you a personal tour of the old El Dorado Rum distillery? Barry has Edward Teach (Blackbeard) give interesting facts about rum and its origins. How would you like to explore the jungle with Tarzan? You will in this book. Discover these wonderful stories and many others as famous people personally guide you around this diverse and interesting country.

Barry Robbins’ book, Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends, appeals to all the reader’s senses and the lure of spending time with famous people. Who wouldn’t want a plane ride over amazing waterfalls with Amelia Earnhart? Barry draws the reader into Guyana by writing each chapter as if he were a different, famous person. This ploy is very successful, and the reader can easily imagine listening to John Audubon talk about the various species of birds. Even if you have never visited South America, you will feel you know Guyana after reading this book. Many people read travel guides because of the photos; however, it is Barry’s style of writing that keeps the reader hooked as they read each page, eagerly awaiting the next wonderful discovery. I highly recommend this book, even if you never plan to travel to Guyana. This may stimulate your imagination enough for you to add a visit to Guyana to your bucket list.

Constance Stadler

Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends by Barry Robbins will likely offer no comparable reading experience. The title that immediately attracts and amuses is faithfully carried out chapter by chapter. The premise is discovering the wonders of Guyana, with each facet and exploring experiences seen through the fictional prism of narrators who span history, fiction, and celebrity status. What becomes readily apparent is how well the author captures the voice of each note-worthy ‘author’ along with the expert link between the ‘writer’ and aspects of what makes Guyana stand out. Much of the pleasure comes from the match between the 'narrator' and the topic. Whether it’s the robust voice of Theodore Roosevelt comparing battlefield challenges to fishing for piranhas, Amelia Earheart's skyborne perspective of Kaieteur Falls, Rubeus Hagrid, the caretaker of magical creatures in the Harry Potter tales, who reveals the singularity of giant spiders, or Monet’s appreciation of water lilies unlike any other, the approach works. As the reader learns what distinguishes Guyana, the presentation grabs their attention. When Ernest Hemingway writes about the pursuit of jaguars in their native habitat, the only thing missing is their focus through a camera lens rather than a hunting scope.

As each chapter ends, Barry Robbins serves as a guide, explaining how a tourist might best appreciate the wonder just described. Along the way, there is interspersed commentary on the subject at hand. To illustrate, the author gives voice to individuals who have laid the groundwork for national independence, explains the reaction of a villager to tourists who cannot fathom life without running water, empathizes with a frightened parrot separated from his flock, and details how the jaguar that Hemingway admired knows he is the maestro of his habitat. These seemingly off-the-cuff recitations add a colorful dimension. There is factual repetition that never feels the same—the verdant rainforests, magnificent biodiversity, and juxtapositions between a wealth of culture and resonant history—because vantage points constantly change. Each description enriches a living, breathing portrait of the country. Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends is also puckishly tinged, enhancing reader enjoyment. By the end of the book, not only will a trip to behold such wonders be added to many bucket lists, but exploring the country through this multi-faceted perspective will captivate you. Whether you seek a travelog unlike any other, an immersive adventure where discovery abounds, or an ideal way to while away a few hours, this book is a rare delicacy.

K.C. Finn

Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends is a work of creative non-fiction by Barry Robbins in the tourism, culture, and history subgenres. In this exciting new travelogue with a creative twist, the author invites readers on a unique exploration, blending Guyana’s far-flung allure with amusing historical and contemporary legends. The book paints a vivid picture of Guyana, guided from various perspectives to give new twists on its history, culture, and atmosphere by iconic figures like Ernest Hemingway, the notorious pirate Blackbeard, and Amelia Earhart. Each chapter unfolds as a thrilling adventure from one of these unique viewpoints as Robbins breathes fresh life into travel writing by taking roads less traveled with voices less heard.

Author Barry Robbins brilliantly intertwines the spirits of legendary figures with the soul of a country rich in culture and natural beauty. I always enjoy the creativity that Robbins delivers with his unique flair for the dialogue and attitudes of famous historical figures. I felt that turning this unique perspective into a travel writing piece was highly original, and a truly appealing way to experience other places without just reading dry, factual accounts. The narrative unveils Guyana's wonders with a vivid array of descriptive lexis that goes beyond the mere cinematic, opening up a multisensory experience where every sound, smell, and sensation really takes you there. The work is also clearly well-researched and detailed, offering a truly immersive and accurate experience that transports its readers to a world where the past and present harmoniously coexist in these lush landscapes. Overall, I would highly recommend Touring Guyana with Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Friends as a perfect read for history enthusiasts, travel lovers, and anyone seeking a fresh perspective on cultural exploration.