In PatagoniaPaperback Vintage Books
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- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 190mm x 16mm | 140g
- Publication date: 19 January 1999
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0099769514
- ISBN 13: 9780099769514
- Edition statement: Neuausg.
- Illustrations note: map
- Sales rank: 15,740
Beautifully written and full of wonderful descriptions and intriguing tales, In Patagonia is an account of Bruce Chatwin's travels to a remote country in search of a strange beast and his encounters with the people whose fascinating stories delay him on the road.
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Bruce Chatwin was born in Sheffield in 1940. After attending Marlborough School he began work as a porter at Sotheby's. Eight years later, having become one of Sotheby's youngest directors, he abandoned his job to pursue his passion for world travel. Between 1972 and 1975 he worked for the Sunday Times, before announcing his next departure in a telegram: 'Gone to Patagonia for six months.' This trip inspired the first of Chatwin's books, In Patagonia, which won the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M.Forster Award and launched his writing career. Two of his books have been made into feature films: The Viceroy of Ouidah (retitled Cobra Verde), directed by Werner Herzog, and Andrew Grieve's On the Black Hill. On publication The Songlines went straight to No.1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and remained in the top ten for nine months. On the Black Hill won the Whitbread First Novel award while his novel Utz was nominated for the 1988 Booker prize. He died in January 1989, aged forty-eight.
"Elliptical and alive, this is a brilliant travel book" Observer "It is hard to pin down what makes In Patagonia so unique, but, in the end, it is Chatwin's brilliant personality that makes it what it is... His form of travel was not about getting from A to B. It was about internal landscapes." Sunday Times "The chameleon traveller...who wrote books in a genre of their own, and whose life was his own subtlest creation... a complex, flamboyantly gifted and rather tragic figure" -- Colin Thubron Guardian
A scrap of hairy skin once sent home by cousin Charley Millward the Sailor - part of an extinct Giant Sloth - takes Bruce Chatwin On an inquiring journey through Patagonia, land of last refuge and lingering mystery at the tip of South America. An impromptu traveler, he looks in on Welsh colonists with pottery pugs on the mantle and an elderly German who toasts Mad ("In my home? No!") King Ludwig; meets a young pianist who asks "complicated questions" about Liszt; looks up the French pretender to the lost throne of Araucania (a forebear learned of the untamed Araucanian Indians through Voltaire); picks up a would-be miner from Haight-Ashbury; and repeatedly crosses Butch Cassidy's exile trail. The encounters and anecdotes, laconically recounted - Chatwin is a clear, direct, wry observer - lengthen into informed speculations on the origin of The Ancient Mariner and the ancestry of Caliban. Chatwin, like the reconnoitering Naipaul, also catches the political drift - of, for one, a 1920-21 Anarchist rebellion led by a "lanky, red-headed Gallician, with the. . . squinting blue eyes that go with Celtic vagueness and fanaticism" who graduated from prop boy for an acting troupe. But it is when he crosses over into Tierra del Fuego - The Land of Fire - that the account really grabs hold. On hand are an Englishwoman traveling the world with one light suitcase and one long dress ("You never know where you'll end up") in pursuit of her passion for flowering shrubs, shades of Darwin and Poe and the wild Fuegians who appalled them both, and cousin Charley himself - his shipwreck, his picaresque tales, and his cave of skin and bones where "the extinct beast merged with the living beast and the beast of the imagination." An elliptical, insinuating quest and highly imaginative travel writing. (Kirkus Reviews)