Vintage Departures

Passage to Juneau

A Sea and Its Meanings

Publisher: Vintage
With the same rigorous observation (natural and social), invigorating stylishness, and encyclopedic learning that he brought to his National Book Award-winning Bad Land, Jonathan Raban conducts readers along the Inside Passage from Seattle to Juneau. The physical distance is 1,000 miles of difficult-and often treacherous-water, which Raban navigates solo in a 35-foot sailboat.

But Passage to Juneau also traverses a gulf of centuries and cultures: the immeasurable divide between the Northwest's Indians and its first European explorers-- between its embattled fishermen and loggers and its pampered new class. Along the way, Raban offers captivating discourses on art, philosophy, and navigation and an unsparing narrative of personal loss.

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He was walking the dock; a big lummox, yellow hair tied back in a ponytail with a red bandanna, bedroll strapped to his shoulders. His plaid jacket looked like a fruitful research area for some unfastidious entomologist. I took him for a displaced farm boy, a Scandinavian type from Wisconsin or Minnesota, adrift in the new...
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PRAISE FOR

"A work of great beauty and inexhaustible fervor." --The Washington Post Book World

"Endlessly suggestive. . . . Nobody now writing keeps a more provocative house than Jonathan Raban." --The New York Times Book Review

"A great book by the very best contempoary writer afloat." --The Oregonian

"Raban is a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. He spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena--. One of our most gifted observers."--Newsday