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In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
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In Patagonia (1977)

by Bruce Chatwin

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Recently added byprivate library, KeithUnderdown, minervois, wishsitar, seite, JK135, JulieRheault, evilmoose, JonArnold, fabio1969
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English (39)  Italian (4)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
A travel book that I do not believe lived up to its hype. ( )
  JK135 | Apr 9, 2014 |
I read in one of the earlier reviews of this book, how this individual had attempted several times to start this novel without success. Finally, coming from a different place and mood, they started, finished and thoroughly enjoyed their reading experience.

Perhaps that has been my issue; and the primary reason why I have not rated or viewed this work of Bruce Chatwin’s as the exceptional or fascinating novel portrayed by most reviewers or critics before me.

I’m currently in a mood for Adventure books, and consequently, have searched various available book lists for ideas on highly rated authors and novels. “In Patagonia” was listed by Outside Magazine as one of the “Top 25 adventure books of the last 100 years.” Having read and been impressed by previous articles, videos, and DVDs on Patagonia, I was anxious to see how Chatwin treated this relatively untouched land of raw beauty, at times harsh living conditions, and limited population intrusion.

The book was interesting but not what I expected or was looking for. It was multi-facetted; part travel log, part search for ancestry heritage, and a fair amount of historical background. It would have been perfect in providing additional background before visiting and touring for several weeks. But the writing was inconsistent in holding my attention. Instances where I was captivated followed by sections that I wanted to just skip over.

To me it was not on the same plane as other novels listed in that top 25; ie, Touching the Void, or Alive, or Wind, Sand, and Stars. Or novels on other lists; such as Man Eaters of Tsavo, or Skeletons on The Zahara for instance.

So I’ll mark this one down as an interesting but not outstanding read. Then try a few others on the list and see if they satisfy my adventure craving.
( )
  whwatson | Mar 7, 2014 |
I’ve just finished rereading Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. I first read it in 1978 or 79, I forget which, and still have my original Picador paperback copy.

I remember being impressed by the mystic otherworldliness of Chatwin’s luminous text – a journey to the end of the world in search of the skin of an extinct creature – a sort of Anglophone Borges.

Thirty plus years on I find myself still impressed by the quality of his writing and his technique of gluing little stories and events together in a narrative. Today, rather than a mystical journey I would view it more as a journey into a vanished society of English farm managers, Scottish Welsh and German migrants, more as social history than anything else.

When Chatwin travelled there, there were still people who remembered hearing stories of the early days of settlement and who remembered some of the events of the time. Now all these people would be long dead, and Patagonia, is doubtless a very different place – more Argentinian than perhaps it once was.

That said I still enjoyed the writing and the turns of phrase and the near fantastical parts of his story telling, and came away with the feeling that the world is now a more prosaic place than it once may have been... ( )
  moncur_d | Jan 13, 2014 |
Chatwin's In Patagonia has been called a masterpiece. It's short, but a masterpiece nonetheless. This is not your typical travel book. Chatwin doesn't linger over landscape and sights to see. Instead, he focuses on the historical and follows in the footsteps of legendary characters like Butch Cassidy. He journeys through Patagonia with a thirst for all that Patagonia is rumored to be, past and present. Don't expect to have a clear picture of Patagonia in your head when you are finished. You will have captured the nostalgic and the profound instead. There are only a quiet collection of photographs that don't quite add up to the narrative. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 2, 2014 |
I found this pretty slow going - it was a bit too disjointed and choppy. Just as I got into a section and familiar with the people it would move elsewhere. I imagine I'd have got into it more if familiar with that part of the world. Did enjoy some of the longer bits of narrative, especially tales about Butch Cassidy and Charley Millward's sea stories. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
If the book were nothing more than a study of how the English maintain quaint customs in remote environments, its appeal would be limited. Fortunately, Mr. Chatwin has an inquiring mind, and part of the pleasure lies in his digressions. Not for him the straight line and the urgent destination. He detours and meanders and circles back, and before we know it we are being told tales of the early navigators, or given an account of an anarchist revolution, or hearing the true story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who went to Patagonia in 1901 on the run from the Pinkertons, started a sheep farm and stayed for five years. Mr. Chatwin's mind, like a crowded attic without cobwebs, produces curios and discontinued models, presented in a manner that is laconic without being listless, literate without being pedantic, and intent without being breathless
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Ted Morgan (Jul 12, 1978)
 
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In my grandmother's dining-room there was a glass-fronted cabinet and in the cabinet a piece of skin.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437190, Paperback)

An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin’s exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through “the uttermost part of the earth”— that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome—in search of almost forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. An instant classic upon publication in 1977, In Patagonia is a masterpiece that has cast a long shadow upon the literary world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin's exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through "the uttermost part of the earth" - that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome - in search of almost-forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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