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Author Raban's Book Reviews

Foreign Land
George Grey is a retiring mariner. He has spent the last several decades in West Africa, far from home and family. His wife left him a long time ago and took their only daughter with her. Upon his retirement George has nowhere he wants to go. He has money and "friends" and tries to return to England to catch up with them and his daughter. Although welcomed by his neighbors and daughter he cannot forget his love and life in West Africa. George feels a...
Passage to Juneau
At the age of 52, British-born writer Jonathan Raban, a permanent resident of the U.S., decides to sail alone up the Inside Passage from his Seattle home to the Alaska Panhandle. On his way, he talks about the first European explorers in the area, the indigenous peoples (offering, among other things, a new theory of Northwestern Indian aesthetics, based on the breakup and shimmering of light on the water), the ailing and booming towns of the present, the...
Thomas Janeway (a character modeled after the author) is a British expat in Seattle; he is a writer and professor whe spends too much time in his head than in the real world. He is forever caught up in his writing and quickly loses the attention of his wife, Beth. Beth is a successful "dot-commer" who has problems of her own. She is very busy at work, concerned for the well-being of her son and bored of her inattentive husband. Thomas is quite shocked wh...