Travels through Tribal Europe,
Published in hardback by Picador 2001
To be published in paperback by Picador 11 October
Helena Drysdale and her husband Richard rented out
their South London home and embarked on an epic eighteen-month
journey across Europe. With them went their two infant
They had no plans but they did have a goal: to probe
the secrets of Western Europe's indigenous tribes.
What drives the Basques' fight for independence? Why
are the Corsicans so volatile and the North Frisians
so lonesome? Who are the Sami? The Alanders? The Ladin?
Mother Tongues reveals the struggles of these peoples
to stave off extinction in an increasingly homogenised
This beautiful book delves not only into the highs
and lows of peripatetic family life, but digs deeper
into the very nature of the powerful bond between
language and identity that affects us all, whether
we know it or not.
'If you still have doubts about the relevance of
travel writing in the 21st century, this book will
Anthony Sattin, Sunday Times
Prologue: Searching for the Sautso Canyon (Norway);
1. Prouvenco, ma Patrio (Provence, France); 2.
War-torn borderlands (Alsace, France); 3. The
Aland Islands (Finland); 4. Samiland (Finland,
Norway & Sweden); 5. The First Word; 6. Friesland
(Denmark, Germany & The Netherlands); 7.
Flemish v Walloon (Belgium); 8. Who is Bernardo
Atxaga? (Basque Country, Spain & France); 9.
A Time of Inconvenience at an Inconvenient Time (Catalonia,
Spain & France); 10. Vendetta (Corsica,
France); 11. Bandit Country (Sardinia, Italy);
12. Macedoine (Greece & FYROM); 13.
South Tyrol & the Ladin (Italy); 14. The
World Bitch (Brittany, France).