“[O’Rourke is] just as funny but also challenging himself when working outside of topicality. . . . a likable, brisk little brother to my favorite, 1988’s Holidays in Hell. . . . [T]his is my kind of O’Rourke: grouchy, quick and there to make you laugh.” San Francisco Chronicle
“A prolific humorist continues his outpouring of solid writing. . . some very fine travel writing, the best of which is wickedly droll O'Rourke at his very best. . . . Here's hoping there's another 15 books still to come.” Los Angeles Times
P.J. O’Rourke is one of today’s most celebrated political humorists, and he has been hailed as “the funniest writer in America
” by both Time
and The Wall Street Journal
. Two decades ago he published the classic travelogue Holidays in Hell
, in which he traversed the globe on a fun-finding mission to what were then some of the most desperate places on the planet, including Warsaw
, and Belfast
.Holidays in Heck
begins after the Iraq War, when P.J. retired from being a war correspondent because he was “too old to keep being scared stiff and too stiff to keep sleeping on the ground.” Instead, he embarked on supposedly more comfortable and allegedly less dangerous travelsoften with family in towwhich mostly left him wishing he were under artillery fire again.
The essays take O’Rourke on a whirlwind of adventures, beginning at the National Mall in Washington
, which he describes as having been designed with the same amazing “greatest generation” aesthetic sensibility that informed his parents’ living room. We follow him as he takes his family on a ski vacation (to the Aspen
of the MidwestOhio
where the highest point of elevation in the state is the six-foot ski instructor that his wife thinks is cute). And later he experiences a harrowing horseback ride across the mountains of Kyrgyzstan
no towns, no roads, no people, and, whoops, no P.J. in the saddle.
The result is a hilarious and often moving portrait of life in the fast laneonly this time as a husband and father.