Summary and Info
Amazon.com Review British-born Jonathan Raban sets out on a passage from Seattle to Juneau in a small boat that is more a waterborne writing den, and as usual with the brilliant Raban, this journey becomes a vehicle for history and heart-stopping descriptions that will make readers want to hail him as one of the finest talents who's picked up a pen in the 20th century. The voyage through the Inside Passage from Washington's Puget Sound to Alaska churns up memories and stirs up hidden emotions and Raban dwells on many, including the death of his father and his own role of Daddy to his young daughter, Julia, left behind in Seattle. More than just a personal travelogue, however, *Passage to Juneau* deftly weaves in the stories of others before him--from Indians whom white men formerly greeted with baubles set afloat on logs, to Captain Vancouver, who risked mutiny on his ship when he banned visits with prostitutes, some of whom offered their services for bits of scrap metal. Pressed into every page are intimate descriptions of life at sea--the fog-shrouded coasts, the crackly radio that keeps him linked to the mainland, the salty marine air, and the fellow sailors who are likewise drawn by a life of tossing on water. While Raban successfully steers his boat to the desired port, readers ultimately discover that this insightful, talented sage is in fact emotionally in deep water and may not fully be captain of his own life. *--Melissa Rossi* From Publishers Weekly Raban's purring English accent, playful imitations and knowing intonations perfectly nuance this pared-down version of his acclaimed tale of sailing alone from Seattle to Juneau. His journey through a sea punctuated by the "skittish humor of whirlpools" and colored by "fifty shades of grey" is nicely paralleled with the same journey taken by others before him, including Captain Vancouver's own dour explorations in the 1790s. Throughout, Raban is an inventive reader, creating many voices for the characters that people his tale; his nasal whine for the sickly, uptight Vancouver is hilarious. This playfulness gently contrasts to his more thoughtful, meditative passages, which encompass Raban's awe of the landscape and considerations of his own life and the small communities that cling to the rocky edges of the Inside Passage from Washington to Alaska. Vintage trade paperback released in October. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.