Part travel log, part culture shock and part foreign languages, Scott’s stunning debut novel recounts the factual story of England’s qualification for the World Cup and their participation in the Finals in summer 2002 through his eyes on his journey through France, the UK, South America and Italy.
Using a timescale starting with England’s first qualification match (and the final game at Wembley) in October 2000 and ending with the World Cup Final in June 2002, my journey takes in Bournemouth, Buenos Aires, Chile, Bolivia, Chicago, Paris, Milan and more, each of the 13 England matches representing one of the chapters of the book.
From meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time in Bournemouth in October 2000 when England lost to Germany, watching England beat Albania from an oasis town 3000 metres high in the Andes, to the oppressive heat and humidity of summertime in Milan, Que Sera Sera describes my quest to watch each England game in the face of adversity, language barriers and uncountable obstacles.
The novel begins as I am all set to leave a job in Paris to embark upon a trip backpacking around South America with my girlfriend Claire. In Argentina we attend a Boca Juniors match at their la Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires, and we watch the next 2 England matches on satellite TV in Chile. Thereafter the book chronicles a year spent with Claire in Milan, where we watch England’s final few qualifiers and then the World Cup Finals, recounting the initial culture shock we experience, our adjustment to a new way of life and the countless experiences we gain on the way.
The book progresses from one of my final nights-out in Paris with several friends, through sand-boarding in the Andes, braving the cold at the San Siro to a scorching and sticky summer’s day in Milan, where I watch the World Cup Final whilst partying with hundreds of ecstatic Brazilians.
With a strong emphasis on cross-cultural differences and the problems encountered when moving to a new country, this book is a must for all travel aficionados or sports fans.
After travelling extensively during his teens and twenties, Scott Gilmour has been a Bordeaux resident since 2005, where he translates, teaches and runs.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with him for more info on his groundbreaking first novel or to just go for a cheeky pint or two..!
Here’s an exclusive extract…
The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbour.
Playing with wingers is more effective against European sides like Brazil than English sides like Wales.
Upon arrival at the bus terminus in Iquique we were accosted by a very knowledgeable taxi driver who seemed to think he could find us the cheapest hostel in town. Now there’s an offer I never refuse. He wasn’t lying either. In a ramshackle, almost derelict building we were shown a cell no more than 8ft by 6 ft. Boasting two single beds, a tiny window looking into the dark garage and 3 inch gaps between the wall and both the floor and ceiling, the state of the sheets also confirmed that we were staying with perhaps the most tight-fisted landlord in South America. Not only were they grimy, but the already miniscule single sheets had been untidily torn in half, leaving a sheet that, only by contorting yourself into an impossibly uncomfortable position and staying there, would you succeed in covering a small amount of your body. For 5 dollars a night we thought it was jolly good value. Cheap as patatas fritas. Surprisingly we didn’t spend a great deal of time in our prison cell, but made the most of the semi-clean kitchen to cook and watch TV, whilst trying to strike up conversation in my limited Spanish with the numerous local people who lived there.