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In Patagonia Paperback – June 7, 1988
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Top Customer Reviews
Several of the episodes deal with his own experiences on the road and the individuals he encounters like the gauchos on the pampas, the Welsh-originated villagers, a French soprano, and a hippie from Haight-Ashbury looking for work in the mines. Interspersed with these accounts are snippets of history, real or imagined, such as an unknown connection between Magellan's expedition and Shakespeare's "The Tempest", the whereabouts of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid after they left the states, and a 19th-century European lawyer who convinced the local Araucanian Indians to elect him their monarch. Chatwin shows particular gift for culling whimsical trivia into a greater storytelling context that is hard to resist as long as the reader is aware that little of it is verifiable. He inevitably ends the book the way he started - by finding the source of the animal scrap. Few writers have shown such a vivid imagination and a powerful sense of imagery as Chatwin has with his splendid travelogue. This will make those with an extreme case of wanderlust want to book their flights to Punta Arenas, Chile, right away.
Thirty years later, I landed in Puerto Montt, Chile at the northwestern edge of Patagonia and started my own journey through that windswept country. I toted In Patagonia along with me as I traveled through Patagonia; resolving every few days to read it, only to put in down in favor of more entertaining books after the first few pages. Despite the book's inability to really grab my attention, I had this unshakable notion that if one has a book titled In Patagonia and one is, in fact, in Patagonia, one should read the book. (This was coupled with the fact that I had used precious cargo space to haul the book 6,000 miles from home and I was damn well going to make use of it.) It wasn't until the end of the journey, while bussing it across Patagonia, that I packed all of my books *except* In Patagonia in the backpack that was stored underneath of the bus. Upon arriving in Punta Arenas ten hours later, I still didn't like In Patagonia, but I had read over a hundred pages and felt honor bound to stick it out for the rest of the book.
Paul Theroux best sums up what I didn't like about In Patagonia: "How had he traveled from here to there? How had he met this or that person? Life was never so neat as Bruce made out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We are traveling to Patagonia and I have learned a lot of history. Easy reading. Recommend it.Published 6 months ago by C. D'Amico
At first I was intrigued by the characters the author encountered and their stories, but began to tire of them and find a certain redundancy. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Margot M. Rawlins
A fun, exciting, (somewhat) true book about the mystery and awe of Patagonia.Published 7 months ago by Ryann Harvell
I have lost track of how many times I said that to myself while reading this book. Read more