Review: The Return of the Mullet Hunter

Posted 20 May, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Return of the Mullet Hunter
By: Simon Varrell
Format/Source: eBook copy kindly provided by the author for review

Simon Varwell is a man on a mission. Albeit a ridiculous one: to visit various places in the world with the word “mullet” in their name. The Return of the Mullet Hunter charts his continuing global mission, and includes his travels in England, Canada, New Zealand and the USA as he hunts down obscure backwaters linked together only by their names.

It’s a journey that takes him from the quiet English countryside to the Californian desert via dull suburbs and uninhabited islands. It leads Simon into the media spotlight and into the welcoming hands of people across the world keen to help this mad Scottish mullet hunter find his destinations.

But more than that, The Return of the Mullet Hunter is an adventure in search of the quiet beauty that lies far off the beaten track in unassuming, rarely-visited places. And it charts the dilemmas as he faces up to the huge costs and obvious stupidity of his whimsical quest – one which, on an epic road trip through the USA, looks like it might begin to fall apart…

The Return of the Mullet Hunter is Simon Varwell’s second book, and the sequel to Up The Creek Without a Mullet.

I’ve always found travelogues and travel-related books rather interesting. I love to travel and when I can’t travel (case in point: right now), travelogues become a way to travel through the wondrous and interesting experiences of others. I found out about this book when the author emailed me about reviewing it, and his mission sounded very specific but also quite unique. I received a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

The Return of the Mullet Hunter has a very open and welcoming narrative as the author recounts his adventures in England, Canada, New Zealand and the USA in search of places sharing the name “mullet”. He does a wonderful job in explanating the reasons behind his particular travel mission and recaps quite nicely some of his previous adventures that I’m guessing were covered in his first travelogue, Up the Creek Without a Mullet. I learned quite a bit from the places he visited, the contrasts between life in these different countries were interesting to read about. It was also interesting to read how his travel goals gained some attention in the respective local media, which was pretty cool.

While venturing out to these places, he also recounts a lot of the interesting people he meets along the way, the strange cultural differences he comes across (the word association between the UK and the US regarding chips, crisps, biscuits, and scones cracked me up because it’s so true!), and some of the theories and ideas he’s come up with based on his experiences and observations to these different locations. It’s also interesting to read his observations about places I’ve been to or the place I live in; for example, I never actually thought that, as Canadians, we flew our flag as often as, let’s say, the Americans, but he remarked that you can actually see our flag everywhere you go (so now the next time I’m downtown, I’ll have to keep an eye out for all of those flags ;)). As an aside, it’s also a pity he wasn’t in Toronto that long (as the city can seem pretty uninspiring based on our highways and crazy airport), but maybe next time!

Overall this book was a pretty unique read in terms of the author’s goals as a traveller and all of these small spots that he ends up visiting. The accounts did drag a little bit towards the end, probably because I’ve been to the US a few times (though not on the West Coast) and am familiar with much of their landscape and culture (not to mention their politics at the time that the author travelled there permeated the news up here that I got sick of it–and that’s coming from a poli sci major =S). Every elated moment and disappointing turn is felt with every page. If you enjoy reading travelogues and other travel-related books, I would recommend checking this title out.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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