Staying in with R A Dalkey


From time to time a book comes along that has such a fantastic title I simply have to know more. I’ve invited R. A. Dalkey to stay in with me today to tell me about one of his books and I think you’ll see what I mean!

Staying in with R A Dalkey

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Richard. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

The pleasure is all mine! At the bitter old age of 38, nothing excites me more of an evening than a clear diary. Staying in and chattering books is right up there with putting my feet up and watching golf on the television. The only thing that could make it better is discovering a leftover meal in the freezer…ideally a meaty one.

(I’m sure we can find something in the freezer that will do! As for your age – well I’m old enough to be your mother…)

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?


I’ve brought Never Drive A Hatchback To Austria (And Other Valuable Life Lessons). To be completely honest,  it was a pretty easy choice to make, since this is my first and only book so far.

(Brilliant title!)

What can we expect from an evening in with Never Drive A Hatchback To Austria (And Other Valuable Life Lessons)?

I really hope you’re going to have a good few laughs and say ‘OMG, I know exactly what he means! That’s happened to me too!’ a lot. You shouldn’t have to do any more thinking than you would if you read Bill Bryson – and hopefully just as much smiling. As with most Bryson books, there’s a lot of travel involved.

(Books and travel just happen to be two of my favourite things!)

But my journey isn’t just the headline one from England to Vienna via various corners of Europe – it’s also a trip through the choppy waters of everyday life. I hope you’ll identify with a lot of the frustrations and madness I encounter along the way. Because if we can’t laugh at something as perplexing as the world we live in, how can we possibly make it through the day?

(Now that’s a philosophy I can subscribe to Richard!)

What else have you brought along and why?


Well, there’s no way I’m sharing that de-frosted meal: I’m pretty selfish when it comes to food. All the more so if it’s one of those Viennese schnitzels. But you can go wild on my Aperol, which I first discovered on my trip to Venice. The ultimate holiday drink was apt reward for sweating our own way through the canals…on a kayak. Just one of the adventures we can read about in my book. Anyone with a chilled disposition is welcome…highly-strung obsessives can stay well away. If we enjoy chapter three together you’ll understand why 😉

Now you have me intrigued I think I’m going to have to read Never Drive A Hatchback To Austria (And Other Valuable Life Lessons). Thanks so much for being here this evening and telling me all about it.

Never Drive A Hatchback To Austria (And Other Valuable Life Lessons)


Life’s funny: one month you’re trying to work out how to buy a second-hand car without getting screwed over by some dodgy con artist, the next you’re plotting your escape from fanatically neurotic housemates. One year you’re living in small-town Oxfordshire, the next you’re a bewildered new citizen of Vienna. In this meandering meditation on the chance happenings, mindless annoyances and general ridiculousness of modern existence, R.A.Dalkey tells the true tale of five homes, three jobs, two very different countries and one superannuated Peugeot 306.

If being a grown-up were as simple as holding down a job, buying a reliable car, finding the home of your dreams and living happily ever after, there’d be no need for this book. But the author’s unorthodox approach and complete failure to accept the world of adulthood was never going to make it that straightforward. Set against the backdrop of his ever-swelling mid-thirties grumpiness and the growing realization that he might never actually become a millionaire, this story follows him and his trusty hatchback from England to Vienna – a journey that takes him to Cyprus and Venice, Slovenia and Surrey, Belgium and Bonn.

Never Drive A Hatchback To Austria (And Other Valuable Life Lessons) is available for purchase through these links.

About R. A. Dalkey


R.A. Dalkey has been editing magazines and writing professionally all his life, and has been published by GQ, Reader’s Digest, The Sunday Times, Australian International Traveller, Reuters and Sports Illustrated, to name just a handful.

You can find him on Goodreads.

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