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Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff Paperback – September 15, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
An accomplished rower, Rosemary Mahoney sets off to fulfil her long-time ambition to row down part of the Nile. Most regard her as stir crazy for even thinking about such a feat, particularly as a woman, in an Egypt paranoid about tourists travelling alone.
Her greatest difficulty turns out to be the seemingly simple task of procuring a boat. Having spent days in Aswan, trying to persuade somebody, anybody, to sell her a small craft, she eventually meets a gentle Nubian felucca captain, who agrees to let her use his boat on condition that he sail his felucca at a distance behind her for protection. Having successfully completed this leg of her trip, she travels to Luxor where she buys another boat and travels a farther stretch of the river to Qena, this time completely alone.
The real treasures in this book are the accounts of Rose's encounters with ordinary Egyptian people, from the giggling group of Nubian village girls, to the creepy Jimi Hendrix look-alike felucca captain. Her conversations with some of the Egyptian men make for wonderful reading. Their mixture of mischievousness, naivety, and malignity; their bizarre and unhealthy obsession with sex; their `doublethink' attitudes to Western and Muslim women, all offer a unique insight into the minds and culture of the people that is accessible, refreshing, and humorous.Read more ›
The journey she takes in the book is not so much about what she sees along the way. Like Florence Nightingale, Flaubert, and other earlier visitors to Egypt, whose travel writings she includes in the book, she focuses on how travel "washes one's eyes and clears away the dust." Illumination comes in the form of talks with the people she meets, and what they reveal is often a kind of perplexed dismay at the cultural ironies that weigh down the spirit and generate a longing for a life that is always elsewhere. Until the final pages, rowing down the Nile itself turns out to be mostly uneventful.Read more ›
I thoroughly enjoyed Mahoney's description of the Egyptian people - their confusion as to why on earth a woman alone would want to row down the Nile, and their often bumbling efforts to allow them to do the rowing for her. She brilliantly evokes the feeling of the Nile and the Egyptian land, so that you can almost feel the heat from the sand and hear the river in it's relentless flow. I came to love the character Amr - a gentle Egyptian with a huge heart and even bigger spirit.
Mahoney peppers her account with fascinating insights from luminaries such as Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert, both of whom had travelled to Egypt in the previous century and had each written of their own
experiences. And along with the historical points of interest, Mahoney unearths all sorts of weird and wonderful facts that won't fail to surprise and titillate the reader.
But then we come to Madeleine Stein. Here is a woman who lives and works in Egypt, speaks fluent Arabic, is obviously somewhat of an adventurer, and she agrees to accompany the author down the Nile in order to satisfy the legal requirements of the inspectors. Indeed, the book is dedicated to her. A fascinating woman by anyone's account, but what does she look like? How old is she? Who does she live with? What does she think about things?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very unusual and interesting read. I felt as if I experienced the journey with the author. A great adventure!Published 15 days ago by Annette Newquist
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 11 months ago by C. M. Monaghan
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 11 months ago by bobg
Another fantastic book by Rosemary, this woman has so much courage. Great story!Published 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 17 months ago by Jean