Throughout their long captivity in Beirut, John McCarthy and Brian Keenan would often retreat to the lost paradises of their imagination, and particularly to the Chile of Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits
, a land of and between extremes. Five years after their return from Beirut, Keenan and McCarthy travelled along South America's backbone, from the parched and scorching Atacama desert in the north to freezing, wind-torn Patagonia 3000 miles south, to realise their dream.
In addition to the two northern voices writing in unison is the continuous presence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The Latin voice provides a delicate counterpoint to the prose, which is both fluid and humorous.
Between Extremes contains excellent descriptions of an awesome landscape and it guides the reader towards a penetrating and often surprising vision of the collective psychology of a society seeking to rediscover itself following the traumatic period of the Pinochet regime. At the same time, the two travellers seek to redefine their own friendship--this time in open spaces. --Philippa West
"'One of the funniest and most moving testaments to friendship that one is likely to read'" (Stuart Wavell The Sunday Times
"'Such an absorbing subject, so deeply and warmly expressed'" (Sara Wheeler Daily Telegraph
"'The best travel book I've read so far this year'" (Pete Carthy Time Out
"'They take us every step of the way with a wonderfully infectious joie de vivre'" (Independent on Sunday
"'Such a vivid and inspiring odyssey that captivated readers will be spurred into booking flights to Chile...Fun glows from every page even in wretched times'" (Irish Independent
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