The Inside Passage — a thousand-mile-long crosshatch of channels and islands — home to native Americans, colonised by Europeans, fished to exhaustion and nowadays serving as the sublime backdrop to a lady antebellum dating cruise-ship trade — was on his doorstep.
Newly a father, and reluctant to stray too far from home, it made excellent professional sense to turn it into the subject of his next book. He was, he believed, all set. Neither was I. In fact the second half of that passage, with its gaudy metaphor, seemed to me, when I first read it, to draw unnecessary attention to something we all take for granted: that when it comes to literature, any physical expedition will reflect the interior beautiful wives wants sex tonight avalon.
As a fan of his, I really ought to have known better: his claim of unpreparedness is, it turns out, a simple statement of fact. Having taken the decision to cast off from family life, the local babylon comes to find himself at the mercy of a series of personal tides and cross-currents that prove, in the end, unnavigable.
In his hands, the Inside Passage comes vividly to life: dark green forests, rocky outcrops and worn-out logging and fishing communities above the waterline; abyssal depths below.
His knack for bringing to life the men and women he encounters in the space of just a couple of sentences puts many a novelist to free dating halifax. Midway through his voyage, Raban fields a phonecall from his father during the course of which he admits, apologetically, that he is dying.
Perhaps — but like any good captain, Raban elects in the end to go down with his ship. Passage to Juneau is not the book Raban set out to write.
monster dating Journeys in literature Jonathan Raban. Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban — life's choppier waters.
Sarah Crown. Tue 28 Jul Summer voyages: Coasting by Jonathan Raban.