Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brazilian Adventure (book review)

Book review from The Movie Snob

Brazilian Adventure, by Peter Fleming (Northwestern University Press 1999). First, the backstory. Peter Fleming was a British journalist and the brother of James-Bond creator Ian Fleming. In 1927, a British colonel named P.H. Fawcett led an expedition into the Amazon jungle and disappeared. In 1932, somebody mounted an expedition to try to find out what had happened to Colonel Fawcett, and Peter Fleming, a literary editor in his 20s, signed up. This is his account of his own ill-fated expedition, which avoided complete disaster but consisted mostly of one minor (and amusing) fiasco after another. I found his style to be irresistibly amusing. After meeting the expedition's mysterious leader, Major Pingle, and learning his plan for the jounrey, he writes, "It almost looked as if we had a chance of something better than an honourable failure." Writing of a fantastically remote campsite in which he and his two companions could have been attacked by jaguars or hostile natives, he confesses, "We saw nothing more formidable than a toad, detected in the act of climbing into my trouser pocket as I slept. If I knew my job, I should say it was a man-eating toad; but I cannot slander so trustful a creature." I enjoyed the book quite a bit, not least because I know I am never going to do anything so crazy.


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