‘Dervla belongs at the heart of the Irish literary canon, for the sheer quality of her writing as well as for her bravery and travelling savoir faire . . . Dervla’s qualities were curiosity, resilience, honesty, kindness, good humour and, above all, empathy. Her style of slow travel allowed time to record people’s stories . . . She laughed in the face of social convention, or at least smiled back over her shoulder as she cycled off into the mist towards her next adventure.’ Irish Times
Life at Full Tilt is a whirlwind tour of Dervla Murphy’s travels. It begins in Spain in 1956, before her first book, and follows in her tracks for over fifty years, including descriptions of her beloved Afghanistan, of the Peruvian Andes, of South, West and East Africa and most recently of the troubled territories of Palestine and Israel.
Dervla Murphy’s style of travel to go somewhere that interested her and see who she met, made for fresh encounters every day, all recorded faithfully each evening in her journal. She read hungrily to prepare for her journeys and folded her learning seamlessly into her books. Finally, between these covers, we are able to catch up with her work in its entirety. What shines through is her passionate engagement with the world and its injustices, and her utter independence of mind.
Ethel Crowley, an Irish sociologist, has, for the first time, looked at all Dervla’s writing and selected extracts from her journalism and her twenty-four books. Ethel introduces us to a complex character, hard to pin down, but a role model for women and environmentalists, Irish to her fingertips and a crucial part of the larger tradition of travel writing. With a preface by travel writer Colin Thubron.