Passage to Juneau
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Passage to Juneau : A Sea and Its Meaning

By (author) Jonathan Raban

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'Raban is, for my money, one of the key writers of the past three decades - not only for his immense stylistic showmanship, but also for the way he has taken that amorphous genre call 'travel writing' and utterly redefined its frontiers..."Passage to Juneau" is his finest achievement to date. Ostensibly an account of a voyage Raban took from his new home in Seattle to the Alaskan capital through that labyrinthine sea route called the Inside Passage, it is, in essence, a book about the nature of loss...You close this extraordinary book marvelling at this most distressing but commonplace of ironies. He's home, but he's lost. Just like the rest of us' - Douglas Kennedy, "Independent". 'This is an extraordinary book...The epic journey through eddies, rips, whirlpools and various other marine terrors quickly becomes intensely personal..."Passage to Juneau" is far more than a meditation on the sea and its meanings; it is also an unsparing self-examination, written with mordant humour and forensic ruthlessness' - Justin Cartwright, "Daily Telegraph". 'A thrilling adventure and a telling internal exploration...the writing contains natural description of breathtaking exactness...and the sea itself - in all its moods - has surely never been so intricately painted' - Edward Marriott, "Evening Standard". 'His erudition is enormous, his prose as beautiful and clear as the blue ocean on a crisp morning and his sense of joy at having found his place in the world is immensely rewarding. "Passage through Juneau" is a wonderfully fluid read. It is also a thought-provoking and challenging work that is likely to splash around in the memory long after the volume has been consigned to the shelf' - Anthony Sattin, "Sunday Times".

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  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 124 x 198 x 30mm | 299.38g
  • 06 Oct 2000
  • Pan MacMillan
  • PICADOR
  • London
  • English
  • maps
  • 0330346296
  • 9780330346290
  • 84,182

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Author Information

Jonathan Raban is the author of Passage to Juneau, Bad Land , Hunting Mister Heartbreak, Coasting, Old Glory, Arabia, Soft City and the novels Foreign Land (1985) and Waxwings (2003). His awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Award, the Thomas Cook Award, the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award, and the Governor's Award of the State of Washington. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta , Harpers, the New York Review of Books, Outside, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, and other magazines. In 1990 Raban, a British citizen, moved from London to Seattle, where he now lives with his daughter.

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Review text

The author voyages in his own small boat northward from Seattle along the wild, romantic and dangerous coast of British Columbia to Alaska. To reach the remote communities of this coast the sea is the only highway and so he followed in the wake of such early explorers as the unimaginative and eccentric Captain Vancouver RN, who charted the coast diligently, but failed to understand anything of the Indian gods who resided in the sea, giving life and taking it away with indifference. All memories of these ancient certainties were swept away by the missionaries and adventurers that soon followed. In attempting to disentangle and find direction in the chaos of cultures that resulted, Raban is ever aware that he and all the people that he encounters are part of the maelstrom. An absorbing book. (Kirkus UK)

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