Nomad [review]

Nomad -Alan Partridge

[Synopsis]

In Alan Partridge: Nomad, Alan dons his boots, windcheater and scarf and embarks on an odyssey through a place he once knew – it’s called Britain – intent on completing a journey of immense personal significance. Diarising his ramble in the form of a ‘journey journal’, Alan details the people and places he encounters, ruminates on matters large and small and, on a final leg fraught with danger, becomes – not a man (because he was one to start off with) – but a better, more inspiring example of a man. This deeply personal book is divided into chapters and has a colour photograph on the front cover. It is deeply personal. Through witty vignettes, heavy essays and nod-inducing pieces of wisdom, Alan shines a light on the nooks of the nation and the crannies of himself, making this a biography that biographs the biographer while also biographing bits of Britain.

[My Review]

Partridge fans will no doubt be excited to learn (if you haven’t already) of Alan’s newly released autobiography/ travelogue Nomada follow up to his 2011 hit I, Partridge, this book picks up where the other left off so we don’t have to miss out on any of Partridge’s escapades!

If you’re a real fan you may also have watched (several times, like I did) the great video of Alan announcing his new book with typical Partridge gusto, stating that “through witty vignettes, heavy essays and nod-inducing pieces of wisdom, I shine a light on the nooks of the nation and the crannies of myself. It’s a piece of work of which I’m immensely proud and if I had to sum it up in one word it would be: hope.” Self-confident as always, his synopsis goes on to state that “this deeply personal book is divided into chapters and has a colour photograph on the front cover. It is deeply personal.”

And indeed it is ‘deeply personal’ – we learn even more about this hilariously tactless (often completely tasteless, too) character. As I get ready to delve once again into Alan’s bizarre mind, he prepares to start his walk from Norwich (woo!) to Dungeness, in Kent – following (as he regularly tells us) in the footsteps of his father, who took this route many years ago. His relationship with his father is complicated to start with, and we learn all this and much more as the novel continues, all written in Partridge’s typically pedantic, stylistically-confused and try-hard writing style!

Alan also shines the light on certain situations we’ve all been party to over the years – giving his take on ‘what happened’, for example, during the siege which was featured in Alpha Papa. Needless to say, Alan’s take on this is significantly different at points to the film, and his relaying of the ‘facts’ is no doubt heavily altered to make Alan appear better, braver and more intelligent than he is – classic Partridge-style! It’s rather amusing to see these disparities between what actually happened and what Alan says has happened, though this does mean that sometimes it feels like there’s a bit less ‘fresh’ content than conveyed in I, Partridge.

Norfolk residents will enjoy reading Alan’s (often scathing) views on anywhere outside of Norwich, which is by far his favourite area of Norfolk, saying “if the people of Norwich were cheddar, they’d be Tesco Finest cheddar”. On his way out of the city he visits his childhood home on Cecil Road in Norwich – now turned into the regional headquarters of Carphone Warehouse – and continues on out of the city. He spends a night in Diss and, having forgotten his tent and having to borrow one, he ends up folded into a child’s Buzz Lightyear Tent (just him; there were no children there, mind!) and gives some (slightly back-handed, we must admit) compliments to some of the area’s gems – Holkham Hall and the Norwich Philharmonic get a mention!

There’s plenty of Partridge humour in Nomad and it’s bound to keep any fan smiling throughout – or, in fact, anyone living in the area with a sense of humour (we’re a good bunch here – us ‘Norfolkonians’ don’t mind some fun being poked at us by Alan)!

It’s hard to beat I, Partridge, but this is a hugely welcome follow up that throws us back into Alan’s entertaining world – one that I’m more than happy delving into again!

[Rating: 4/5]

Nomad is out now in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats.

Many thanks to Orion Book for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest and unbiased review. I have also published this review on the Norwich the City of Stories blog, which I write for.

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