In Search Of The English Eccentric: A Journey


In Search Of The English Eccentric: A Journey


Henry Hemming


UK : John Murray (UKCxC)



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In Search Of The English Eccentric: A Journey

The English eccentric is under threat. In our increasingly homogenised society, these celebrated parts of our national identity are anomalies that may soon no longer fit. Or so it seems. On his entertaining and thought-provoking quest to discover the most eccentric English person alive today, Henry Hemming unearths a surprisingly large array of delightfully odd characters. He asks what it is to be an eccentric. Is it simply to thrive on creativity and non-conformity, and where does this incarnation of Englishness stem from? Hemming concludes that this tribe is, in fact, in rude health, as essential as ever to the English national identity, only they are no longer to be found where you'd expect them. Featuring interviews with Dame Vivienne Westwood, the Marquess of Bath, Pete Doherty, the modern-day reincarnation of King Arthur, the Leopard Man of Skye, Sebastian Horsley, Chris Eubank, Captain Beany and Brian Haw among others.


A lovely, heartfelt paean to English eccentrics, by a member of the tribe. A funny, timely and moving encounter with a dying breed.
Jon Ronson
The new Michael Palin
Daily Mail
Hemming makes a convincing case for the ways in which eccentrics benefit any society or era.
Financial Times
An intelligent and encouraging piece of writing.
Times Literary Supplement
Hemming is a kindly collector and a champion of people who live as they see fit.
An entertaining quest to understand our national identity.
[Hemming is] an aficionado of the odd.
Time Out
Hemming retells his encounters with such colour that at times it is like spending a long weekend in a bed and breakfast run by Tim Burton... made me feel glad to be English again.
The Bookseller
An entertaining, intelligent account of the author's meetings with an eclectic assortment of famous and obscure cases
The Times
Hemming makes some good points, for example about the eccentricity of the monarchy, especially Prince Charles.
Sunday Telegraph
It would have been easy to set these people up for ridicule, but Hemming sensitively delves into their psyches to offer a witty narrative.
Hemming keeps up a stream of comic patter, dropping in quotes from Hazlitt and Orwell.

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