Reviews of Borders Up!

Borders Up! by Vitali Vitaliev

‘Border’s Up! by renowned Russian/British journalist Vitali Vitaliev quickly became one of my favourites… the humour of Vitaliev’s anecdotes and the brilliant use of the English language in conveying them will have any reader on the floor laughing – and longing for a drink. For those with a background in Central and Eastern Europe, the book is even more hilarious, because it presents a truth that is often confined only to insiders’ jokes… Vitaliev belongs to a rare group of people who can write with brilliance and style in a second language… I must say I have re-read this book several times, and have fallen off my chair laughing at the same passages time and time again. The book is one of the funniest I have ever read’


‘I admire his writing which gets better and better. We’re both interested in the history of the 20th century, but he's lived it, and I've been a spectator’

Clive James

‘A gorgeously eccentric travelogue shot through with Vitaliev’s irrepressible wit’


‘Vitaliev drinks his way through Eastern Europe with surprising focus, each draught redolent of the company, and community, it is drunk in. Fuelled more by the author’s gift of observation rather than his penchant for Riesling, Vitaliev’s travelogue cultivates a pacy, empassioned style that turns what is essentially an excuse for a long-haul pub crawl into an incisive portrait of post-Communist Europe. A prolonged moment of clarity’


‘He has a sharp and sardonic eye; and his observations are informed by his humanity and compassion. He has written a funny and sad book which seems to be about drinking, but is really about people, suffering, tyranny and foolishness. He is an engaging fellow and his book puts you at his companionable elbow’


‘Vitaliev writes with vitality and humour’


Vitalieve is erudite, humorous and a joy to be with’


‘An ironic and witty commentator on life. He writes with a humanist's appetite, and an outsider’s discrimination, for social oddity. There is great charm in his emotional roller-coasting’


‘A richly idiosyncratic journey’


‘Vitaliev has written a very funny travel book about drinking in post-Communist Eastern Europe, and it’s packed full of out-of-the-way information. With the charm of Michael Palin and the wit of Clive Anderson, this man is adorable’


‘Vitaliev transcends his genre, producing a new travel-writing of the soul, a journey with lessons about what really matters in life. That makes it literature’


 ‘Imagine Michael Palin, Clive Anderson and Bill Bryson all rolled into one and you’ll have some idea of what to expect’


Vitaliev ‘looks at humanity in all its splendour and vulnerability.…The strength and resilience of the human spirit in appalling or absurd circumstances shines through his invigorating prose’


‘There is a joyfulness in his writing that is hard to find elsewhere: the joy of a former citizen of the closed Soviet Union on the loose abroad, the joy of a non-English-speaker writing in English, the joy of a naturally humorous person confronted with endlessly amusing people and places’



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