Passage to Juneau

By Jonathan Raban,

Book cover of Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Passage to Juneau as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I first read Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings when I was the travel books editor at Amazon and took it home to review.

British-born Raban’s solo sailing journey from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, is a riveting take on navigating the Inside Passage (the intricate waterway between Puget Sound and Alaska), weaving together history, science, literature, and intimate descriptions of his life at sea.

While Raban can be a prickly narrator, Passage to Juneau is extraordinary narrative nonfiction and was the initial inspiration for my own book and many seasons now spent boating (and reading) afloat.

To my mind, Raban is among the greatest of travel writers whose words so truly mirror the instability of the waters and lives through which he navigates. Here he travels from Seattle to Juneau, focusing his penetrating gaze on the Inside Passage and its inhabitants with the same brutal honesty he turns on himself as his marriage unravels. Alaska and the human condition are portrayed with panache, wit, and the clarity of a photograph. He carries you there with him round every eddy and over every fall. How can anyone write so well, so consistently?

From Alastair's list on the Far North.

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