Thank you to Jonathan Bousfield for including Another Fool in the Balkans in his round up of literary Istria for Time Out Croatia. I’m really chuffed to be included, not least because Istria is one of my favourite places in the world. Here’s what he says:
Another Fool in the Balkans (2006), one of those perceptive and offbeat books that offer something of an antidote to the straw-hatted, Zorba-ate-my-donkey narratives that blight English-language travel writing elsewhere. It devotes a good ninety pages to Istria and stands up very well as an informed and sympathetic travel companion. When it comes to Pula, White is intrigued by the James Joyce connections but doesn’t allow them to lead him astray, embarking instead on an unorthodox agenda of his own. He goes off in search of Pula’s historic cinemas, tracks down Seventies’ movie star Igor Galo, and props up the bar at the cult café of local boxing legend Mate Parlov. Each of these quests reveals aspects of the city that other books rarely reach.
Well the Olympian Mate Parlov is no longer holding court in his bar in the cente of Pula. He sadly died – far too young – in 2008. But reading this makes me want to visit Pula again, right now . . .
Bousfield’s guide to literary Istria is a fascinating piece, and well worth a read. He takes in Thomas Mann and James Joyce, and he also recommends an Italian novel that is new to me, but which I now can’t wait to read: Materada by Fulvio Tomizza.
Another Fool in the Balkans is out of print, but a small number of copies are available to buy on Abebooks.