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Driving Home An American Scrapbook by Jonathan Raban
  

Driving Home An American Scrapbook

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Synopsis

Driving Home An American Scrapbook by Jonathan Raban

For over thirty years Jonathan Raban has written about people and places in transition or on the margins, of journeys undertaken and destinations never quite reached; of isolation and alienation, but also of what it means to belong, to feel rooted. Driving Home, a collection of pieces spanning two decades, charts its course through American history and recent world events. Raban writes with an outsider's eye for the public and the personal, about political, social, and cultural affairs, and about literature, his tone intimate but never nostalgic, and always fresh. Variously frank, witty, and provocative, Driving Home is part essay collection, part diary - and wholly engrossing. `A passionate history buff and a skilled raconteur . . . it's a fine ride' Sunday Times `A fabulous collection' Observer

Reviews

The central work of Raban's life might be described as an effort to determine what America is like ... But along with that, the reader notes, big water draws from Raban a kind of genius for natural description. --Thomas Powers, The New York Review of Books

The Northwest should feel itself lucky to have found a writer as fabulous--filled to overflowing with stories, meaning, and insight--as the landscape itself demands ... It has been one of the great pleasures of the past twenty years to watch Raban discover this landscape for himself ... to see [it] and its people with a clarify unmatched by most natives. --Charles Petersen, Barnes and Noble review Raban [here] showcases his craftsmanship as a writer and his bona fides as an intellectual. Every word is impeccably chosen, every metaphor meticulously selected.... [His] virtues are a writer are virtually unrivaled when it comes to explaining our relationships with landscapes and nature, and he's unrivaled, perio Raban [here] showcases his craftsmanship as a writer and his bona fides as an intellectual. Every word is impeccably chosen, every metaphor meticulously selected.... [His] virtues are a writer are virtually unrivaled when it comes to explaining our relationships with landscapes and nature, and he's unrivaled, period, when describing water in all its forms, be it a placid puddle or a storm-swirled sea. --Phil Campbell, Columbia Journalism Review

Driving Home could easily have been titled The Jonathan Raban Reader, as the brisk, smartly crafted pieces are just that representative of [his] long and illustrative writing life....By combining them in one volume, Raban offers a lively stew of topics, themes that most interest the British citizen turned Seattleite, subjects that get him the most excited and riled....Readers have long been drawn to Raban for the elegance of his language and the eloquence of his thought and can expect to find the same in these essays. --Deboraha This Englishman in America is weird, unfettered, scruffy and alive....Mr. Raban's best writing, which is most of it, is succulent under a crusty exterior, like a fish baked in salt. His stuff is yet more proof that Britons are better travel writers and essayists than Americans: drier, funnier, more argumentative. --Dwight Garner, The New York Times

Raban knows that the best essayist trusts in drift and digression and habitually adds a literary trill. He is an erudite but adaptable companion, tart and genial, promiscuous in experience yet reliable in temperament....He conjures with his new home, with the Pacific Northwest, with history, poetry, geography, catastrophe...subjects Raban circumnavigates with finesse, shrugging off the obvious and regularly landing us on a shore we can't quite glimpse from here. --Stacy Schiff, The New York Times Book Review

A collection of essays about America and Americana . . . full of ideas that move through the language w A collection of essays about America and Americana . . . full of ideas that move through the language with the grace of a well-captained sailboat . . . Throughout, Raban reveals the traits that have long endeared him to his readers: a curiosity about the quirkiness of people and places, a ferocious love for the land, an elegance (but never pretentiousness) of style, self-deprecation, and an unusual ability to inhabit the imaginations of his interlocutors.

--Kirkus Reviews

A delight . . . [Raban] stands detached from cant and superficiality, which is perhaps a prerequisite for the striking originalities and apercus with which he leavens every article.

--Booklist It takes a passionate history buff to note how many of America's virtues and vices have been present since independence and before, and a skilled raconteur to make us feel that passion. --The Sunday Times

Teems with acerbic humor, but it contains, too, a wealth of astute cultural an Throughout [ Driving Home ], Raban reveals the traits that have long endeared him to his readers--a curiosity about the quirkiness of people and places, a ferocious love for the land, an elegance (but never pretentiousness) of style, self-deprecation and an unusual ability to inhabit the imaginations of his interlocutors . . . Full of ideas that move through the language with the grace of a well-captained sailboat. -- Kirkus Reviews

Raban stands detached from cant and superficiality, which is perhaps prerequisite for the striking originalities and apercus with which he leavens [ Driving Home, which] functions excellently as a smorgasbord. Sampling some of everything, readers may gladly follow Raban for layers beneath the surfaces of his subjects, becoming immersed in such matters as the history of landscapes, the perils and pleasures of sailing, and assessments of authors (Raban's book reviews are outstanding exercises in the genre) . . . A delight. --Gilbert Taylor, Boo


About the Author

Jonathan Raban is the author of over a dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Passage to Juneau, Bad Land, Hunting Mr Heartbreak, Coasting, Old Glory, Arabia, Soft City, Waxwings and Surveillance. His awards include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Award, the Thomas Cook Award, the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award, and the Governor's Award of the State of Washington. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Harpers, The New York Review of Books, Outside, The London Review of Books and many other magazines. In 1990 Raban, a British citizen, moved from London to Seattle, where he now lives with his daughter.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st June 2012

Author

Jonathan Raban

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Publisher

Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Format

Paperback
624 pages

Categories

Literary essays

ISBN

9780330480826

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