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Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (Crown Journeys) Hardcover – July 8, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The book is broken up into twelve chapters. "Talk the Talk" presents the key bits of PDX slang you'll need to sound like a local (most of which were unknown to me). "Quests" lists fourteen different "adventures" or things to do in and around the city. Samples include visiting the famous self-cleaning house, or spending an afternoon in eviction court. "Chow" is on food, of course, and is probably the most disappointing chapter. "Haunts" lists sixteen places to commune with ghosts and spirits in places like haunted hotels and bathrooms. "Souvenirs" is a throwaway two-page chapter listing five offbeat places to buy stuff. "Unholy Relics" is a list of nine offbeat museums, like the Vacuum Cleaner Museum.
"Getting Off" is the longest chapter, and as one might guess, it's all about the city's sex scene, from strip bars to swinger clubs. Notable is the annual "I-Tit-A-Rod" race, in which the goal is to visit as many strip clubs in twelve hours as possible (no one has come close to making all fifty). A more genteel chapter follows this, highlighting the city's more interesting gardens and parks.Read more ›
This is one of those strange little books that will probably only appeal to those who live (or have lived) in the city. It's sort of a travel guide, personal diary, and social commentary of Palahnuik wrapped into a single small volume. Each chapter that deals with locations or places to see is followed by a "postcard" from the past that relates a personal experience. These are really bizarre stories, and you'll either really like them or wonder why they are even in the book. The chapters on locations list such things as restaurants to see, the most haunted locations in Portland, and museums that are worth visiting. Many of these sites are *not* five star locations you'll see in any other travel guide, like Wacky Willy's Surplus. But it will send you down the path to the off-beat side of Portland.
The part I found most interesting is the chapter on the Shanghai Tunnels. Portland was a notorious port in earlier days, and most of the bars and hotels at that time were connected to an underground tunnel system. These tunnels were used to "shanghai", or abduct, people and smuggle them onto ships for forced labor. There were also opium dens and other uses for these underground passages. Over time they deteriorated, but there are now guided tours and efforts to restore them as part of Portland's past.
Is the book good? It's got moments... For me, it was more hit and miss, however...
* A fan of Mr. Palahniuk's work? A Must Have. Biographical sketches, funny and sad, poignant and pathetic, give flashbulb glimpses of the man and insight into his writing. As pure entertainment, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
* Looking to do something different in Portland, OR? Assuming all of the attractions noted haven't been overrun and wiped-out by rabid Fight Club wannabes, Fugitives and Refugees will lead you to some seriously off-the-map attractions. 5 of 5 stars but, like any travel guide, F & R will become less and less useful over time until it becomes a snapshot of a historical moment, "Chuck's Portland As It Was".
* Travel guide fan? Armchair explorer? Love reading about all those places you just know you'll never actually take the time to visit? This is among the oddest guides you'll find. 4 of 5 stars. Point off for its brevity.
* Jaded Portland Local? Too hip for your asymmetrical haircut? Got a "been-there-done-it-all-bought-the-ironic-tee-shirt" attitude? Do you now dislike Mr. Palahniuk and his books because of his popularity? 5 of 5 stars for you since this little book will give you more self-righteous "I Told You He Sold Out" proof to drop on your friends over six dollar lattes or twenty-five cent beers than any of his upcoming books and film releases ever possibly will.
Over-all grade: 4.625 out of 5 stars (rounded up for Amazon's whole-number system.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was an interesting book with a lot of recommendations. Loved the stories!Published 4 months ago by Eve R
This is a really wonderful book for anyone living in or interested in Portland. I've probably bought 4 copies by now to give to people. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Abby K
I have purchased this book 4 times now because every time someone comes to visit me, they take it! It's a wonderful and weird look into the city of Portland. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K. Lang
This is, by far, by favorite book by Palahniuk. I've read several of his other books and they mostly confound and confuse me with some amazing literary skill creeping in at the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by CC Thomas
I grew up in the Portland area, but hadn't heard of most of the stories in this book. Palahniuk writes about Portland weirdness and beauty, from haunted places to secret... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Garrett T. Chamberlin
Can't wait to see my daughters face this is her favorite author.Published 20 months ago by Sharon Wooldridge