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Passage to Juneau (1999)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679776141, Paperback)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
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:33 -0400)
The Inside Passage from Puget Sound to Alaska is winding, turbulent, and deep--an ancient, thousand-mile-long sea route, rich in dangerous whirlpools, eddies, rips, and races. Here flourished the canoe culture of the Northwest Indians, with their fantastic painted masks and complex iconography and their stories of malign submarine gods and monsters. The unhappy British ship Discovery, captained by George Vancouver, came through these open reaches and narrow chasms in 1792. The early explorers were quickly followed by fur traders, settlers, missionaries, anthropologists, fishermen, and tourists, each with their own designs on this intricate and haunted sea.
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