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Book Review

Backpack

 

Written by: Emily Barr
Narrated by: Emma Fenney
Genres: Women's Fiction | Thriller & Suspense | Mystery Thriller
Published: 16th of August, 2014
Length: 11 Hours 35 Minutes

 

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Description
The wonderful first novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Sleeper and The Sisterhood.

It's New Year's Day and the year isn't kicking off well for Tansy: her mother's dead, she's a cocaine addict and her boyfriend has just left her. A trip around the world seems like the only option except that she's not interested in seeing the world, just escaping from it, and the last people she wants to hang out with are backpackers.

Like a lot of travellers on the Lonely-Planet-led Asian Grand Tour, Tansy is intensely irritating at first. Always on the look out for the "real" Vietnam--the one in which she can walk around "like a model, fanning myself gently, strolling into ancient temples and learning about inner peace"--she is opinionated, narrow-minded and remarkably naive (for a supposed media luvvy). Once she has shrugged off her addiction to lines of coke, skinny lattes and Nicole Fahri jumpers, she becomes more appealing. So by the time she's fallen for Max, a fellow traveller, she'll have won you over and you'll be just as worried as she is about the serial killer who appears to be on her trail.

 

The Audiobook Review
Morgan Hobbes Morgan Hobbes

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Reviewed: 2020-07-18

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A old favourite of mine brought to life
I was reminded of Backpack by Emily Barr when I saw she had recently released a new book. I bought Backpack as a paperback many years ago now, a few years after its initial release (I’m thinking 2007?). When my Audible credit came up this month, it was time for a revisit.

When I first saw this book waaaaay back when I remember thinking it was chick-lit (yeah yeah judging books by their covers and all that), so probably not something I’d be interested in. But after I’d read the blurb and it talked of backpacking through Asia with a murderer following close behind, I took the plunge and bought the book.

Once I started reading it I was so glad I did. Since then, I've read it every few years... and the Audible experience just being the most recent. While it is categorised as “Women’s Fiction”, I feel everyone can (and should!) enjoy this.

Tansy, at the beginning of this novel, is a fairly unlikeable person. Her mother has just died, and she’s hard-drinking / hard drugging herself to forget about it. Convinced to take some time off from her life and go travelling with her boyfriend, she books a backpacking trip through Asia. Her boyfriend pulls out at the last minute and she’s forced to travel alone.

She arrives with impractical clothing and despising everyone, especially the backpackers who she believes herself to be above. Of course along the way she meets many interesting people who she begins to trust and love. As the novel progresses, news of murdered backpackers that look a lot like Tansy are showing up dead, in places she has visited. Of course, she becomes less of a douche along the way and embraces the backpacking way of life.

So part mystery/suspense, part self-discovery, part comedy, this novel deftly blends all three together into a thoroughly enjoyable read. The descriptions of life on the road as a backpacker and of the places and people Tansy meets along the way are immersive, obviously written by someone who has travelled the circuit.

The narrator, Emma Fenney, breathes so much life into Tansy and the other characters. She has a voice that's easy to listen to while adding the needed believability that makes you think you're listening to the true story of someone narrating their way around Asia.

TL;DR Versions
An oldie but a goodie and glad I looked past my preconceptions based on the cover. Give this one a go for sure.

 

 

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