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The Talented Mr Raban
on 8 March 2000
Raban's latest book is an elegiac masterpiece of writing. He takes a tortuous journey up the dangerous 'Inside Passage',and turns this into a metaphor for his own place in the world. Anecdote,myth and bereavement are all addressed in these moving pages. In particular,the painful break-up of his marriage and the tender love he has for his daughter,are beautifully expressed. Vancouver's journey of 1792 is lyrically described.Yet another work of rare sensitivity by the very talented Mr Raban. For me,the book was marred by the spiteful preamble at the beginning,in which the china-blue-eyed 'lummox'was cruelly lampooned. Unnecessary,I felt. His affectionate,yet tense evocation of family life reminded me of the cool style of Greene,Angus Wilson and Ivy Compton-Burnett.