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Driving Home

An American Journey

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eBook published by Pantheon (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
For more than thirty years, Jonathan Raban has written with infectious fascination about people and places in transition or on the margins, about journeys undertaken and destinations never quite reached, and, as an expat, about what it means to feel rooted in America. Spanning two decades, Driving Home charts a course through the Pacific Northwest, American history, and current events as witnessed by "a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. Proving that an outsider is the keenest observer of the scene that natives take for granted, this collection of Jonathan Raban’s essays affirms his place as the most literate, perceptive, and humorous commentator on the places, characters, and obsessions that constitute the American scene. Raban spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena. "He is one of our most gifted observers." (Newsday).
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For more than thirty years, Jonathan Raban has written with infectious fascination about people and places in transition or on the margins, about journeys undertaken and destinations never quite reached, and, as an expat, about what it means to feel rooted in America. Spanning two decades, Driving Home charts a course through the Pacific Northwest, American history, and current events as witnessed by "a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. Proving that an outsider is the keenest observer of the scene that natives take for granted, this collection of Jonathan Raban’s essays affirms his place as the most literate, perceptive, and humorous commentator on the places, characters, and obsessions that constitute the American scene. Raban spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena. "He is one of our most gifted observers." (Newsday).
Product Details
eBook (544 pages)
Published: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780307906885
Other books byJonathan Raban
  • Bad Land

    Bad Land
    An American Romance
    A New York Times Editors' Choice for Book of the Year Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award Winner of the PEN West Creative Nonfiction Award "No one has evoked with greater power the marriage of land and sky that gives this country both its beauty and its terror. " --Washington Post Book World In 1909 maps still identified eastern Montana as the Great American Desert.  But in that year Congress, lobbied heavily by railroad companies, offered 320-acre tracts of land to anyone bold or foolish enough to stake a claim to them. Drawn by shamelessly inventive brochures, countless homesteaders--many of them immigrants--went west to make their fortunes. Most failed. In Bad Land, Jonathan Raban travels through the unforgiving country that was the scene of their dreams and undoing, and makes their story come miraculously alive.     In towns named Terry, Calypso, and Ismay (which changed its name to Joe, Montana, in an effort to attract football fans), and in the landscape in between, Raban unearths a vanished episode of American history, with its own ruins, its own heroes and heroines, its own hopeful myths and bitter memories. Startlingly observed, beautifully written, this book is a contemporary classic of the American West. "Exceptional. . . .  A beautifully told historical meditation. " --Time "Championship prose. . . .  In fifty years don't be surprised if Bad Land is a landmark." --Los Angeles Times

    Passage to Juneau

    Passage to Juneau
    A Sea and Its Meanings
    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.

    Waxwings

    Waxwings
    Jonathan Raban’s powerful novel is set in Seattle in 1999, at the height of its infatuation with the virtual. It’s a place that attracts immigrants. One of these is Tom Janeway, a bookish Hungarian-born Englishman who makes his living commenting on American mores on NPR. Another, who calls himself Chick, is a frenetically industrious illegal alien from China who makes his living any way he can. Through a series of extraordinary but chillingly plausible events, the paths of these newcomers converge. Tom is uprooted from his marriage and must learn to father his endearing eight-year old son part-time. Chick claws his way up from exploited to exploiter. Meanwhile Seattle is troubled by rioting anarchists, vanishing children, and the discovery of an al-Qaeda operative; it is a city on the brink. Savage and tender, visionary and addictively entertaining, Waxwings is a major achievement.

    Coasting

    Coasting
    A Private Voyage
    Put Jonathan Raban on a boat and the results will be fascinating, and never more so than when he’s sailing around the serpentine, 2,000-mile coast of his native England. In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, his childhood, and the elusive notion of home. Whether he’s chatting with bored tax exiles on the Isle of Man, wrestling down a mainsail during a titanic gale, or crashing a Scottish house party where the kilted guests turn out to be Americans, Raban is alert to the slightest nuance of meaning. One can read Coasting for his precise naturalistic descriptions or his mordant comments on the new England, where the principal industry seems to be the marketing of Englishness. But one always reads it with pleasure. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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