- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: RHUK (3 December 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099769514
- ISBN-13: 978-0099769514
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
In Patagonia (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 3 Dec 1998
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"Elliptical and alive, this is a brilliant travel book" (Observer)
"It is hard to pin down what makes In Patagonia so unique, but, in the end, it is Chatwin’s brilliant personality that makes it what it is… His form of travel was not about getting from A to B. It was about internal landscapes." (Sunday Times)
"The chameleon traveller…who wrote books in a genre of their own, and whose life was his own subtlest creation… a complex, flamboyantly gifted and rather tragic figure" (Colin Thubron Guardian)
'The book that redefined travel writing' GuardianSee all Product description
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An artifact belonging to his family provides the gravity that pulls him to the southern reaches of South America. He realizes from the beginning the artifact is likely apocryphal, but that becomes an essential element to the story as it lends a fantastical air to the voyage, as if he's visiting some storybook land. You have to remind yourself as you're reading this that it is a very real, but very exotic, place.
During the course of reading this, it struck me that Chatwin spends little time describing the physical surroundings, which is odd considering this is known to be a region of breathtaking, albeit stark, beauty. When contrasted with his careful depictions of the people, it dawned on me the essence of Patagonia that he conveys here is the hardscrabble people who have come here looking for a better life and found backbreaking toil and harsh conditions. A couple of generations of that produces a distinctive populace and you then realize, for all it's beauty, Patagonia is less a place than a mentality. Fiercely independent, weathered and cragged could be used interchangeably to describe the place or the people.
Gone to Patagonia! How often have we on a day-dreamy kind of afternoon wanted to make the same journey? Patagonia is a region whose struggles and eccentricities are richly woven into the historical fabric of the South American continent. In modern times, Patagonia has been the refuge of scoundrels, outlaws, misfits of all kinds and individuals orphaned by time or by fate.
Nicholas Shakespeare’s introduction to the book is excellent and the book itself is one you will never forget. I read it this time for pleasure but will read it again someday to unravel some of its mysteries. There are too many names and dates and places to absorb on a first encounter with “In Patagonia.”
If you haven’t read it—do yourself a favor. Put aside that book that is boring you and read about this place called Patagonia which lies at the very ends of the Earth.
Reminiscent of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and William Least-Heat Moon’s “Blue Highways,” Chatwin’s “In Patagonia” will grip you and never let you go.
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