Starred Review. This is travel writing at its most enjoyable: the reader is taken on a great trip with an erudite travel companion soaking up scads of history, culture and literary knowledge, along with the scenery. The genesis for the trip is simple: the author's love of rowing. Her plan, "to buy a small Egyptian rowboat and row myself along the 120-mile stretch of river between the cities of Aswan and Qena," is less so. Mahoney (The Singular Pilgrim; Whoredom in Kimmage) conveys readers along the longest river in the world, through narrative laced with insight, goodwill and sometimes sadness. Mahoney's writing style is conversational, her use of metaphor adept. She cleverly marshals the writings of numerous river travelers but focuses on "two troubled geniuses": Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert. The device allows readers a backward glance at the Edwardian travel accoutrements of sumptuous riverside dinners, staggering supplies of alcohol and food, trunks of books and commodious accommodations. The physical environment is demanding. "When I removed my hat, the sun had made the top of my head sting... it was like having a freshly baked nail driven into one's skull." Yet her biggest obstacle isn't the climate but the slippery hurdles of culture and sex. Whether struggling to buy a boat, visiting historic Luxor or rowing, innocent encounters become sticky psychological and philosophical snares. Still, the ride is smooth, leaving the reader wishing for more nautical miles. (July 11)
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Boston native and avid rower Rosemary Mahoney, once an assistant to playwright Lillian Hellman, has led a peripatetic life, and her writing reflects the breadth of her travels and the depth of her thinking on cultural matters. Previous efforts include The Early Arrival of Dreams, the author's experiences in China just before Tiananmen Square; The Singular Pilgrim, a spiritual travelogue; and Whoredom in Kimmage, a treatise on Irish gender roles. In On the Nile, the author writes beautifully of the connections between culture and history-though critics note how reluctantly she shares details of her own life outside her travels. Still, Mahoney's voice is direct and honest, her Nile as evocative as Paul Bowles's desert, her wit a counterbalance to the unease engendered by such a profound cultural divide.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down once I started reading it. This woman has more courage and gumption in her little pinky than most people have in their whole bodies! Read morePublished 6 months ago by C. Marshall
Great read. Suspenseful. Fast paced. I read it in preparation for a trip to Egypt and found it full of good cultural information about Egypt and life along the Nile. Read morePublished 6 months ago by bobg
Another fantastic book by Rosemary, this woman has so much courage. Great story!Published 7 months ago by Lee
fine travel book - enjoyable and descriptive. Sometime it tends to generalize localized experiences. But, generally fair to the overall experience.Published 7 months ago by Osama M. Ettouney
The writer wants us to know she is a very brave girl. Some history and some cultural understanding was gained by this read. I did not find it very interesting.Published 8 months ago by Judy2
Cannot say enough about this book. Although she only traveled 120 miles this is a journey of a lifetime and an adventure story that any one can relate.Published 10 months ago by SMR
Boring and impossible to understand what the author is trying convey in this poorly written book. Gave up and never finished it. -- Complete waste of my money and reading time.Published 11 months ago by Jean
A woman rowing down the Nile written in clean but descriptive prose with historical references pleases my senses and mind.Published 12 months ago by Kk