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In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
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In Patagonia (1977)

by Bruce Chatwin

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Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
A classic in travel literature. If not for a weak ending a certain 4.5 and maybe a r. New place and history, vignettes on peoples lives, great writing that wasn't focused on himself.

Loved the Charley Milward story.

Looking forwrd to Songlines. ( )
  JBreedlove | Aug 14, 2016 |
'In Patagonia' is said to have revolutionised the travel writing genre, and I can well believe it. Chatwin's book is the ideal combination of historical research and present-day exploration; personal yet unsentimental, Chatwin's writing takes you on a journey through all of Patagonia, both past and present. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 20, 2016 |
Review: In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin.

This is considered a travel novel with history and adventure. Chatwin’s fully integrated mix of fact and fiction and his brilliant personality is what makes the whole adventure exciting. Patagonia is a stretch of land at the southern tip of South America. Groups of nomadic hunters migrated to Patagonia over eight thousand years ago in search of food and shelter. These people included the Aonikens, the Kawesqars, the Yaganes and the Selknams. With its strange history and cultures it also supplied the model for Caliban of Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest” and Patagonia is where Charles Darwin began to formulate his “survival of the fittest” theory. What prompted Chatwin’s journey into Patagonia is a piece of reddish animal skin he found in his grandmother’s curio cabinet when he was a child and as an adult curiosity brought on an impulse to find its origin. It’s quite interesting and Chatwin breaks it down to ninety-seven mini-stories. Chatwin was primarily a storyteller traveling through southern Argentina. His resources brought him back as far as the 1500’s to the late 1990’s. He wrote with unique insight into Patagonia, its people, history, cultures, and landscapes.

What emerges from his book of the nomadic wanderings of Chatwin during his year in Patagonia he describes how he ended up being curious to find out information about a beast his grandmother told him about but soon becomes waylaid by bizarre groups of people and stories that built upon each other as the book progressed. I enjoyed the early history of the settlements and how they lived. Back then there was cannibalism and strange cultures and sacrificing to Idol Gods. As the years went on some areas of Patagonia was slowly becoming modern. There are still some areas that are very primitive. Around the second half of the 20th century, tourism became an important part of Patagonia’s economy. When Chatwin traveled through different settlements and villages he described in detail what he was seeing and how these people lived. The principal tourist attractions now include Perito Moreno glacier, the Valdes Peninsula, the Argentine Lake District, Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. Also, land owners in Argentina include Sylvester Stallone, Ted Turner, Christopher Lambert and the notable Luciano Benetton.

There are also descriptions of the geography and physical characteristics of the region and the myths and legions was fascinating (Fact or Fiction, no proof.) Chatwin goes on about his journey taking him over modern Patagonia along with his vast concourse bouncing from one town to another in search of legions and old tales. His investigation lead him to the haunts of the last days known of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He visited the beaches that Darwin visited during his famous voyage aboard the Beagle and Chatwin even visit’s the famous Mylodon cave where archaic animal’ remains were discovered. The information he was searching information on the skin and hair his grandmother gave him and told him it came from a Brontosaurus in the distant land of Patagonia turned out to be a piece of skin actually belonged to a Mylondon….

There is one flaw: It was wordy and long winded… ( )
  Juan-banjo | Jun 22, 2016 |
Couldn't get into it. For one thing, Chatwin assumes we know something of the area and its history, its relationship to the rest of the world. I don't. Maybe someday.... but given the size of Mt TBR, not likely. Sorry.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
One of the earlier travel books about the south of Argentina is “In Patagonia” (1977) by Bruce Chatwin, who traveled the area in the early 1970s. He visits mostly fellow-British immigrants – he seems to have looked up almost every Englishman, Welsh and Scot in Patagonia – and tells of their lives, their histories. In the process he also comes up with other little-known gems, like the latter-day adventures of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who exchanged criminal life in North America for Patagonia when police and detectives in the former got too close on their heels. Or the Chilean workers revolution of the 1920s, which ended in the wholesome slaughter of bandit-turned strikers by the Argentine army, a solution heartily supported by the British sheep-farming community in Patagonia. Or, my favourite, the establishment of the Kingdom of Patagonia by a French lawyer in the 1860s, who set off to head the Chilean Araucanian Indians in their struggle against the Argentinian Republic, and whose descendants still make a modest claim to the throne. The journey ends in Punta Arenas in Chile, where one of Chatwin’s grand-family established a business round the turn of the 20th Century, and was involved in the search for the last living mylodon – a type of a sloth that died out some 10,000 years ago -, another one of those entertaining stories. Despite the presence of these tales in the book, Chatwin’s is a little short on observations and a little long on Britishers, and all kind of other immigrants’ stories – but perhaps that is the reality of Patagonia.
  theonearmedcrab | May 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (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 (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bruce Chatwinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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)

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"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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