Customer Reviews


5 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A long journey out of the self"
I discovered Jonathan Raban through "Arabia", confirmed his brilliance in "Bad Land" and read "Driving Home" in the hope of rekindling some of the old magic. This is a collection of essays published in magazines and newspapers in the period 1991-2009, following his decision, as a middle-aged "Brit" to move to Seattle.

For me, Raban is at his best as a travel...
Published on 18 Sep 2012 by Antenna

versus
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Disappointing.
Published 5 months ago by Carter Brune


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A long journey out of the self", 18 Sep 2012
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb (Paperback)
I discovered Jonathan Raban through "Arabia", confirmed his brilliance in "Bad Land" and read "Driving Home" in the hope of rekindling some of the old magic. This is a collection of essays published in magazines and newspapers in the period 1991-2009, following his decision, as a middle-aged "Brit" to move to Seattle.

For me, Raban is at his best as a travel writer, the observant rolling stone who combines descriptions of landscapes and people met in passing with history, politics and culture to create a vivid sense of place. This is typified by the essay used for the book title, in which Raban drives a round trip from Seattle "a western city built in the wilderness and designed to dazzle" , over the Coastal Range and the Cascades, across various river valleys to the dead level plateau of the Christian Right where it is "a big thing to raise a tree", since only stunted sagebrush grows there naturally. To give us background, he weaves in anecdotes about the explorers Lewis and Clarke, and introduced me to two neglected literary talents, the poet Roethke and the novelist Bernard Malamud, whose writing captured the spirit of the north-western states.

Raban's political articles on the aftermath of 9/11, the newly elected Obama and characters like Sarah Palin are entertaining, informative but perhaps not as "striking" as some of his other work since so much has already been written on them by others, plus this material will date quite fast.

His essays on famous literary figures probably require some prior knowledge of their work. For instance, I enjoyed the article on the in many ways rather unpleasant Philip Larkin, and was interested to learn how much he feared death and pleased to be taught to appreciate his poem "Aubade". However, the piece on William Gaddis left me cold and caused me to begin to skip in search of essays with more immediate appeal.

In the main, Raban can make watching paint dry interesting, but the occasional piece requires too much effort to be worth the trouble. The least successful category seems to me to cover those on a specific theme like "On the waterfront" which appears too much of a contrived exercise in writing.

If these essays were thrown together in a single book to earn a few bucks, I don't blame Raban. His tendency to write articles based on his daughter, or to name-drop holidays with "the Therouxes" detracts somewhat from his writing.

Despite a few reservations, there are sufficient excellent passages in this book to make it worth reading and keeping on one's shelf to revisit later.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raban's Journeys, 23 Aug 2012
By 
J. Scott "James Scott" (Glasgow,Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb (Paperback)
A large collection of Jonathan Raban's writings over a period of years since he left the UK for Seattle his new home. 604 pages A collection of his published reviews and articles from magazines and newspapers some of which I had read before. Many others were published in magazines that I didn't come across and probably wouldn'y have bought anyway. His writing covers two decades through American history and also more recent world affairs. I would put it up there as an ideal Desert Island book read then again why wait. Read it now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb (Paperback)
Great
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Sep 2014
This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb (Paperback)
V good
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, 7 July 2014
This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb (Paperback)
Disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb
Driving Home: An American Scrapbook: An Emigrants Reflections Pb by Jonathan Raban (Paperback - 21 Jun 2012)
£7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews