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Jonathan Raban is an often depressed and sometimes depressing writer, but nonetheless a very good one. He completely fails in this account to put me off visiting the stretch of water between Seattle and Alaska, which I hope to sail one of these days. Provides some fascinating insights into, amongst other things, the 'native culture' tourist trail, the fishing industry, and the exploration of the region 200+ years ago by George Vancouver and others. Not to mention his, I think original, take on the origins and visual significance of the 'totem pole'.
Started this "little voyage" a couple of years ago. I rejoin it during quite moments on board and find I can slip into it quite easily. Still not finished yet though.
Excellent book though I did find some of the history a bit tedious. Have you also read Coasting?
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Have you also read Coasting?
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Yes, not exactly a bundle of laughs though...
I've just come into this forum so a bit behind the times with this thread but I love Rabans stuff. Maybe I'm also a bit of a miserable old fart myself but I find his attitude if not refreshing then at least agreeable. Both Coasting and Passage to Juneau I read almost without stopping. It's a long way from Sydney Australia to Juneau but I do hope to make that trip someday.
For the Mobos among us 'Old Glory' (quickly down the Mississippi) is inspired writing. That river can be terrifying. Apparently his non nautical stuff is also good reading.
Coasting is a first class book, I very much liked the way he dovetailed 1950's England and growing up into the cruise around the country.
Passage to Juneau though took his then current personal circumstances into the book, which because it was current became somehow depressing which Coasting was not. I finished it but found it a tedious self indulgent book. It's a while back, if you have a tendency to melancholy, which I have, reading it is not to be advised!
Old Glory was good, and a novel the title of which escapes me, but from the same period as Passage to Juneau I suppose, (same location), which was also modestly good.
Thoroughly agree re his take on English society through the fifities and sixties. I've been mainly hanging about in American forums where you don't touch anything political with a barge pole. After all it's difficult to discuss anything political with people who think Clinton was a socialist. I read his book on Thatcher after Coasting , the two are good companions. I do admit to being a huge Raban fan but I have enjoyed, some more some less, all of his books. Raban also edited a new collection of sailing classics which include new editions of 'Saga of the Cimba' (Richard Maury) , 'Gypsy Moth Circles the Earth' (Francis Chichester), 'Once is Enough' (Miles Smeeton) , 'Alone though the Roaring Forties' (Vito Dumas) and '40,000 Miles in A Canoe' (John Voss). Good reads , all of them.
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