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West: A Journey Through the Landscapes of Loss Hardcover – 1 Jul 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; 2010 First Edition edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843546116
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843546115
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 3.2 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 758,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'A beautiful, powerful and extraordinary book, full of extremes of nature and experience. WEST is an invigorating and frequently joyous reflection of what it feels like to be alive.' -- Tristan Gooley, author of THE NATURAL NAVIGATOR

'In this astonishing book, as much factual novel or epic prose poem as anything else, Jim Perrin takes us on a celebratory, often hilarious, yet profoundly moving, journey through an intricate weave of lives lived, loved and lost. In recalling his wife and son, he conjugates love, pride and pain into an eloquent reflection on grief and mortality.'
--Aonghas MacNeacail

About the Author

Jim Perrin is one of Britain's most highly regarded writers on travel, nature and the outdoors and in his youth was one of the country's most notable rock-climbers. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Climber and The Great Outdoors. Among many other awards he has twice won the Boardman Tasker Prize for mountain literature, and was voted Scottish Columnist of the Year 2009. He has written twelve books to date, including Menlove, The Villain: A LIfe of Don Whillans, River Map, The Climbing Essays and Travels with The Flea. He is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy, an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University, and the Guardian's Country Diarist for Wales.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Madryn on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover
My suspicions of West were aroused when I came to the episode describing how Jim Perrin was, supposedly, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. ( A dozen years later he's still alive and well.) He claims that the doctors diagnosed metastases in both lungs. Jim, lad, you don't get metastases in your lungs from lung cancer: you get primaries. Lung cancer is almost always fatal, and there is no doctor who would have behaved as Perrin alleges his "wise old GP " did, and advised delay to see how things developed. So why did Perrin make all this up? Because Jac had died of cancer did he have to be equally ill? This episode, plus Jacs sisters very different versions of his affair with her, casts considerable doubt on the truth, factual and emotional, of the rest of West. All writing is a construct and it would be naive to expect absolute truth from a memoir, but the creation of episodes which simply cannot have happened does raise ethical questions about the degree of fantasy acceptable in a supposedly honest account. West strikes me as less an expression of the sublime than the egotistical.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By wanderer on 21 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This 'book' purports to be the truth about a relationship but the elasticity and mis-use of facts grounds it mostly in fantasy.
Elaborate obfuscations of time and fact disorientate the reader. For a fuller sense of a memoir of a loved one read Francisco Goldman`s 'Say her Name,' where he truely honours his ture and legal wife by bringing her to life, detailing her as a person, showing us who she is in her own right.
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15 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Marc on 5 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Imagine how it would feel to lose your first born son. Worse, imagine him committing suicide; your golden boy kneeling into a noose, choosing death over any comfort you might offer. And as the tide of grief engulfed you, imagine learning that your partner and lifelong love has terminal cancer. Imagine she dies within a year.

The truth is I can't imagine how that would feel.

Sure, I can string some words together, probably clichéd - curl up and die, cry my heart out - but the reality is I have little conception of the visceral hurt, the psychological trauma such losses would bring. The losses I have experienced seem trivial by comparison- or at least more natural and in their proper place. I have no idea what I would do; how I'd respond; where I would go.

Jim Perrin faced these horrors, and more. And he went West - drawn to the Atlantic shores of Ireland, his instinct to reach out for the recuperative power of landscape. He went West, he writes in his new book, because the West is the landscape of loss; because the West is where the light dies. But going West was as much a mental as physical journey; in the landscape of the West he found not only solace, but also the strength to take the first faltering step out of grief's labyrinth.

West is an extraordinary book: beautifully written, heartfelt, nauseating; it is poetic and scholarly, bawdy and funny; it is the story of unimaginable grief, a story we would never wish on ourselves. And yet it is also a love story; as much about life as it is about loss - if not exactly embracing his sorrow, he at least shows us the possibility of facing it, and even finding joy in our memories.

PS I note the negative reviews of this book by Jaccetta's family - I can't comment on their accuracy, but it seems to me that they are missing the point - this a book is about grief and loss and coming through - the personal histories are not really the issue.
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15 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Richard C. Barrett on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are some things that pick you up and give you a zest for life. Although it's perhaps a bit hackneyed, Steve Windwood's song 'When You See a Chance' has this effect on me. So too does this book.

I picked it up in various bookshop a few times, only to put it back down again, dismissing it on the suspicion it would be too maudlin - although my wife says I do maudlin really well what with mournful Nordic jazz and miserable Americana.

But its just beautiful. It's more of a biography than anything, focusing on the love he has experienced in life; what made and makes his life meaningful - and ultimately how he went through profund loss and found some kind of renewal. And his writing is emeplary. I imagine reading it many times in the future.
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13 of 22 people found the following review helpful By robmacneacail on 7 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
this book is unlike other books - it transcends the traits that reviewers may look for on which to heap scorn or praise. while at times the prose is so purple that in other circumstances it might be boke inducing, and at others more peotic and vivid than anything i've ever read, this is beside the point. this is simply the most honest, loving and personal book i have encountered. once immersed, one comes to a realisation that perrin did not write this book with any thought to its reception - he wrote it because he had to, to come to terms with the loss and celebrate the lives of the two people he most treasured. while its narrative is like a river of consciousness, on closer inspection it is beautifully, meticulously and lovingly crafted, with hundreds of wonderful quotes from poems that capture his thoughts and feelings, and the way the word "west" becomes a powerful refrain, like a heartbeat pulsing throughout the book. this book reads like a gift - by the end, one feels like they know (and like) the author. the losses he has suffered affect the reader, who mourns for him, but most importantly, is so glad that he and the ones they knew had the experience of knowing them.

this book will become an unsuspected 'favourite' (though that seems like the wrong word) for anyone who reads it. truly unique.
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