Passage to Juneau : A Sea and Its Meaning Paperback
'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".
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages, maps
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 01/10/2000
- Category: Biography: general
- ISBN: 9780330346290
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Review by thorold
Rather as he does in <i>Coasting</i>, Raban takes the conventional framework of the travel narrative and shakes it up to give structure to a complex, multifaceted meditation on the ways people engage with places and struggle to find sense in them. The result is more like a narrative poem than a prose travel book &mdash; ideas and trains of thought are linked by being juxtaposed and intermingled in the text, rather than by the author drawing explicit connections between them. The closest parallel I could think of to the effect is Derek Walcott's <i>Omeros</i>, but Raban manages to do it without the safety-net of poetic meter. Daring, elegant, and extremely rewarding for the reader, even if Raban's bleak mood is sometimes a bit hard to take.