So, The Dark Tourist ISN’T actually a ‘proper’ autobiography per se, but it is still Dom Joly’s telling of his experiences – so it definitely worked the same way as an audiobook. I thought it was hilarious – but I can imagine that it wouldn’t have worked quite as well as in print. “It’s the way he tells them!”
It starts when he spots a photo in a Parisian magazine of a couple of women in full burkhas – on skis! The photo has been taken in Iran – and Joly decides that this is such an unlikely place for a ski resort that he HAS to go there…which brings about all sorts of amusing exchanges with officials and passport control etc.
Having been brought up in Lebanon, this also whets his appetite for visiting some of the ‘riskier’ parts of the world as a tourist, seeking out the unusual and hidden rather than the usual sanitised offerings. Hence the title.
His visits take him to Iran, Lebanon, Cambodia, Chernobyl, North Korea and America’s deep south.
His storytelling is brilliant – we were laughing out loud at some of the situations he managed to get himself into. He is extremely candid and this is occasionally slightly shocking. But in a good way! (there is a whole section where is tempted to buy Pol Pot’s shoes). I can imagine that these don’t necessarily translate into a particularly well written book – so if you get the chance, get the audiobook!