‘I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to’
And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. Des Moines couldn’t hold him, but it did lure him back. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14,000 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set. Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. He discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.
Bryson’s acclaimed first success, The Lost Continent is a classic of travel literature – hilariously, stomach-achingly, funny, yet tinged with heartache – and the book that first staked Bill Bryson’s claim as the most beloved writer of his generation.
"Hilarious... he can be suave, sarcastic and very funny... not your typical travel writer"
"Funny as this wonderful book is, it is also a serious indictment of the American way of life and the direction in which it is going... he is genuinely shocked, as we are, by the statistics of affluence, poverty, crime and culture that he drops in hither and thither"
"A very funny performance, littered with wonderful lines and memorable images"
Graphic artist Neil Gower has designed the entire backlist of author Bill Bryson's books. How did he find a visual style to cover so many different titles?