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Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaningsby Jonathan Raban
Synopses & Reviews
"I had a boat, most of a spring and summer, a cargo of books, and the kind of dream of self-enrichment that spurs everyone who sails north from Seattle," explains Jonathan Raban at the outset of his journey along the Inside Passage from Seattle to Juneau. In a 35-foot sailboat Raban traverses over 1,000 miles of often treacherous waters, and for fans of tales of sea adventure Passage to Juneau is an exhilarating ride. However, in Raban's voice the voyage becomes much more than a Man and the Sea travelogue. In the same ruminative style as his National Book Critics Circle award-winning Bad Land, Raban considers past and present, myth and reality. Passage to Juneau is a lesson in comparative literature, the history of the Northwest's Indians and the first European explorers, and a sociological treatise on class and technology. But most of all, Passage to Juneau is a fascinating navigation through Raban's psyche — a brave interior exploration of family, relationship, and mourning. He is a beautiful, sensitive writer, whose wry voice encourages the reader to see as he sees. Passage to Juneau will appeal to almost any reader for Raban's skill is narrating a universal tale. Georgie, Powells.com
With the same rigorous observation (natural and social), invigorating stylishness, and encyclopedic learning that he brought to his National Book Award-winning Bad Land, Jonathan Raban conducts readers along the Inside Passage from Seattle to Juneau. The physical distance is 1,000 miles of difficult — and often treacherous — water, which Raban navigates solo in a 35-foot sailboat.
But Passage to Juneau also traverses a gulf of centuries and cultures: the immeasurable divide between the Northwest's Indians and its first European explorers — between its embattled fishermen and loggers and its pampered new class. Along the way, Raban offers captivating discourses on art, philosophy, and navigation and an unsparing narrative of personal loss.
"Certainly the finest writer afloat since Conrad." Geoffrey Moorhouse, The Guardian
"Adrift in foreign lands, eternally questioning the concept of 'home,' Raban crafts a more immaculate, ship-shape habitation out of the language than almost all his contemporaries." Rose Tremain, Financial Times
"A great book by the very best contempoary writer afloat." The Oregonian
"A work of great beauty and inexhaustible fervor." The Washington Post Book World
"Raban is a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. He spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena....One of our most gifted observers." Newsday
Following the overland triumph of "Bad Land"--whose prizes include the National Book Critics Circle Award--Raban sets out from his Seattle home on a voyage to the Alaska Panhandle.
About the Author
Jonathan Raban is the author of Old Glory, Hunting Mister Heartbreak, and Bad Land, Coasting, and the novel Foreign Land; he also edited the Oxford Book of the Sea. He has received the Heinemann Award for Literature, the Thomas Cook Award, and the Governor's Award of the State of Washington. Bad Land's other prizes include the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Pen West Creative Nonfiction Award. In 1990 Raban moved from London to Seattle, where he lives with his daughter.
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