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In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
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In Patagonia (1977)

by Bruce Chatwin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,461723,643 (3.75)125
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English (59)  Italian (4)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (72)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Chatwin's writing is delightful and fun to read. He writes very vividly about small details, but tends to leave the larger picture murky. Although this is travel literature, it in no way really lets you know what to expect in Patagonia. It is a series of snapshots - he describes some of the people he encounters in vivid detail, and explores some historical anecdotes (especially around Butch Cassidy) and local legends (without clarifying where history ends and legend begins, rendering himself an unreliable narrator).

This book is racist in the way that only a British imperialist can be racist: that is, the native people of Patagonia are basically details of the landscape, like the livestock, and he focuses entirely on the European inhabitants of South America. Granted, it is fascinating how many cultural pockets he encounters - villages that remain entirely Welsh or German in language and culture - but Chatwin all but ignores the locals.

All in all, this is a strange book, but worth reading for the quality of the writing. ( )
  Gwendydd | Sep 25, 2018 |
Great digressions, more than a travelogue. Worthwhile introduction. Cringe inducing attitudes towards indigenous peoples. ( )
  encephalical | Dec 22, 2017 |
Travel
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
This was an interesting read, although not quite what I expected. Less a travelogue of places, than of people. It explores the lives of eccentric expat characters more than the place and the locals. ( )
  Laurochka | Aug 18, 2017 |
Bruce Chatwin wrote this book about 1977, and I have been aware of it for years, seeing it praised as the best travel story in many years. It begins with his boyhood fascination with a piece of skin that his uncle told him was from a dinosaur. He set out as a young man to follow his uncles travels in Patagonia. He walked and hitched rides, took the trains, throughout Patagonia, ending up in Tierra del Fuego and finally in Chile. The skin probably came from a giant sloth, found in a cave in southern Chile. He tells the story of Butch Cassidy, trying to separate the facts from the fiction. He is very familiar with obscure revolutionaries and histories in the region, and with the occasional Nazi still living at that time. He describes a place, recounts a story, furnishes some history, in chapters of varying length, sometimes only a paragraph of less than a page. Fascinating and easily read. Finished in a few evenings in January 2017. ( )
  neurodrew | Feb 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (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)
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bruce Chatwinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kamp, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shakespeare, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:08 -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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