#9. A Different Lifetime: stepping back in time in the former Yugoslavia (Martin Radford)

Book: A Different Lifetime: stepping back in time in the former Yugoslavia, by Martin Radford

Genre: Travel/memoir

Where I got it: Free Kindle download

Length: 164 pages

Briefly, it’s the account of four months which the author, an Englishman, spent teaching English in Vojvodina in 2006.

Comments: This is a polite and careful account of what must have been a pretty challenging and often frustrating four months in Serbia.  Yes, Serbia – I don’t know why that name is not in the title of the book.  It’s not as if Radford gives us loads of information about “the former Yugoslavia”.  In fact, political or historical insight is not what this book is about.  He does tell us about the friends he made, what his living arrangements were like, a bit about the lives of his (adult) students, and about the river-bank walks he undertook.  But there is something missing at the level of personal feelings.  For instance, twice he mentions being give a drink of the local hooch, “fire-water”, but he doesn’t tell us what it was like, whether he liked it, or what effect it had on him.  And the way in which he fails to fight for the pay which he was due, and which was not given to him, was a bit wimpy (if it was true).

Challenges: Full House Challenge, for the category “Less than 200 pages”; ebook reading challenge; non-fiction reading challenge.