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  1. Eight Feet in the Andes by Dervla Murphy | Waterstones
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Eight Feet in the Andes by Dervla Murphy. The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca on the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over miles to the south. With only the most basic necessities to sustain them and spending most of their time above 10, feet, their journey was The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca on the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over miles to the south.

With only the most basic necessities to sustain them and spending most of their time above 10, feet, their journey was marked by extreme discomfort, occasional danger and even the temporary loss of Juana over a precipice. Yet mother and daughter, a formidable duo, were unflagging in their sympathetic response to the perilous beauty and impoverished people of the Andes.

Get A Copy. Published by Flamingo first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Eight Feet in the Andes , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Eight Feet in the Andes. Lists with This Book.

Eight Feet in the Andes by Dervla Murphy | Waterstones

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. This was the August book for my book club. It's a travel book and recounts a trip in the Peruvian Andes that Murphy undertook with her 9-year-old daughter and a very handsome mule called Juana in the early s. They start in the North of the country and go all the way to Cuzco, clambering up and down mountains, staying away from the few motor roads and struggling to find food to buy in tiny hamlets that are even more desperately impoverished than they'd expected.

I read a bit under half the boo This was the August book for my book club. I read a bit under half the book and abandoned it. I don't usually do that with book club books, but it was just so, so boring, and I couldn't see it changing at all. It's the story of what sounds like a great trip, but it's not a great book. Murphy's writing is not very good, but that's not the main problem.

The main problem is that what I want from a travel book is to travel with an interesting person who tells good stories, and I didn't get that. I don't know if Murphy is an interesting person. I don't know her at all, even after reading pages of her book. We get some of her opinions about what she's seeing which were not unproblematic , but nothing about who she is as a person. All I knew was that she's an incredibly tough, no nonsense lady, but even that hid as much as it revealed. I mean, at the beginning, she basically walks for days with a nail sticking out inside of her boot and making her foot bleed.

She mentions a couple of times that she needs to find a cobbler, but that's it. Is she worried? In pain?


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Angry that the stupid makers of this shoddy boot are ruining this trip she's been planning for so long? I had absolutely no idea. Her daughter Rachel is an enigma as well.

Publisher Description

Murphy often quotes things Rachel said or wrote in her diary, but those just didn't ring true. The diary entries, especially, sounded too, too precious, with their careful misspellings. As for stories Murphy describes everything she sees and does, and it's midly interesting when she and her daughter interact with people.

Mostly, though, it's "we left camp at 8. Very tedious. I think part of the problem is that the book is written as a diary, with one entry for each day.


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I think it might have worked better if she hadn't had to write a full-sized account every day and just concentrated on the interesting bit and summarised the daily grind. I mentioned her opinions above. The book was originally published in and it's very dated. Murphy is quite patronising in some of her thoughts about the native Peruvians, and some of her general opinions are just startling, like when she says, just in passing, about a particular village: "It certainly isn't ravaged by disease, violence, drunkenness and homosexuality, as so many of the larger settlements have been in the past.

Finally, I got really annoyed by how bad the Spanish was. If you're going to publish a book about travelling in Peru, at least get your Spanish checked. It's fine if it's "I said X" and X is wrong, because hey, if your Spanish was not great, you would have said some things wrong. Anyway, not a success. I might be completely off-base here, but I don't get the feeling Murphy is principally a writer, in the sense of someone for whom the writing comes before the travelling.

With my favourite travel authors, I get the feeling they would write about anything, and their travelling just provides them with raw material. Here there was something of a grudging quality to the writing, as if it was only a means to an end, and that end was financing the travel. Like I said, I might be wrong, but that was the vibe I got. View all 6 comments. In Dervla Murphy and her 9 year old daughter walked with their mule Juana from Cajamarca northern Peru to Cusco far to the south following as much as possible the Camino Real the Inca Royal road along the spine of the second highest mountain range in the world.

It took them just over 3 months. Eight Feet in the Andes is a day by day journal of that incredible journey with all its splendour, risks and adventures. The Murphys travel light, most often camping in their small tent and not a In Dervla Murphy and her 9 year old daughter walked with their mule Juana from Cajamarca northern Peru to Cusco far to the south following as much as possible the Camino Real the Inca Royal road along the spine of the second highest mountain range in the world.

ISBN 13: 9780099847908

The Murphys travel light, most often camping in their small tent and not always sure where their next meal will come from. They endure blizzards, precipitous paths, bogs, heat, theft and find help when most needed and generous if often taciturn hospitality. I will admit that at my first attempt to read Eight Feet in the Andes , I only got about 60 pages in, but taking it up again over a year later, I've raced through the book, enjoying Murphy's deprecating sense of humour, her laconic but stirring descriptions of landscape and people, her musing and reflections.

Most of all, I got the best sense of the Andes as a colossal landform and of the people living on its steep slopes and fertile valleys, often at least at that time little changed since the arrival of the Spanish some years before. At times Murphy is a bit despairing of the Peruvians but the real concern and respect also shines through as she accepts their often laconic help and advice along the journey. While this is a travel story, there is plenty of drama especially towards the end and I loved learning about little travelled paths in an amazing part of the world.

Mar 30, summer61 rated it really liked it. Mom is a great writer, "Abruptly she swung away from [the bridge] and stood stiff-legged, her rump to the river, displaying every known symptom of equine apprehension. Mom is a great writer, an amazingly tough person who does not suffer fools gladly, who loves nature and maize beer, hates cars and views the lives of the campesinos with a surprisingly unaffected eye.

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