Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning

Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning

Paperback

By (author) Jonathan Raban

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 198mm x 30mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 6 October 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330346296
  • ISBN 13: 9780330346290
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 90,824

Product description

'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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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.

Editorial reviews

A rich, multilayered narrative of solitary travel through a vast and chilly landscape. Raban (Bad Land, 1996; Hunting Mister Heartbreak, 1991; etc.), a Londoner resident in Seattle, is one of the English-speaking world's great travelers and travel writers. Here he crafts a wonderfully literate account, full of thoughtful observation and self-deprecating humor, of a sailing trip up the Inside Passage from the Puget Sound to the Alaska Panhandle. He is not, he admits, a great mariner - "I am afraid of the sea . . . I'm not a natural sailor, but a timid, weedy, cerebral type, never more out of my element than when I'm at sea" - and the boat he bought for his voyage was chosen less for its sturdiness than for its built-in bookcases, which could house a fine library. Raban's journey is indeed bookish, full of observations culled from his readings. It's also set in parallel with other voyages, foremost among them that of the English sailor and explorer George Vancouver two centuries before. Along the way, Raban visits Native American villages, where he meets a Tsimshian man who presses his children to learn Japanese, Spanish, and computer science so that the Tsimshian people can take a place in the coming millennium; passengers on the ever-present cruise ships that ply the waters of the Inside Passage, the butts of countless Alaskan jokes and even undisguised scorn; and down-on-their-luck workers lured to the North by the promise of high wages but who never managed to punch the right ticket. For all the people Raban meets along his journey, however, his is a fundamentally lonely narrative, marked by sorrowful passages on the concurrent dissolution of his marriage and on the decline of the literary culture he so ably represents. Impeccably written and told, this will be irresistible to Raban's many admirers, as well as those who value a good story. (Kirkus Reviews)