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Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprise discovery for this reader!, 31 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: Driving Home: An American Scrapbook (Hardcover)
I came across this amazing collection of articles written so well by an author who was unknown to me until I speculatively ordered it from my local library! Although I was initially put off by the size (over 600 pages), I have been on a journey of discovery! Jonathan really tests his reader, living up to his quoted inspiration by William Empson's 'Seven Types of Ambiguity'! - One is obliged to read his detailed but flowing prose with care and attention - So welcome to yours truly in an age of scanning and butterfly minds - However, apart from his superb introduction which I had to re-read several times, the following chapters are re-printed articles, so smaller and manageable gems to dip into at one's leisure!

Jonathan 'reads' landscapes as palimpsests with the appropriate literary associations/connections to each new area he explores - This works so well, it is not only a delightful and engaging read, but also has been an inspiration to this reviewer too - I am an amateur landscape photographer, but now I will be trying to combine my landscape photography with Jonathan's descriptive techniques to contextualise my photographs.

I can't recommend this book highly enough - Needless to say, I have ordered my own copy from Amazon (whilst they are still available in hardcover), so this chunky tome can take pride of place in my personal library! - I'll be investigating the author's entire oeuvre too, now I've had my 'eyes opened' (metaphorically and even literally!) - 'So many books, so little time', eh? - Phew, aren't we the lucky ones though? - Jonathan Raban is a superb author and this is a great introduction for those who have not tried him before, but also another worthy read for those who have, I'm certain.

Excuse my gushing admiration, as I'm not usually prone to this, so praise indeed perhaps?! ;-)
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Sep 2010 19:11:10 BDT
Chris says:
For those of you with a passing interest in Literature, Art, History of Art, and/or Photography (?!) ... I've just finished this wonderful and highly recommended book! Jonathan Raban has introduced yours truly to the literary critic William Empson and it has inspired me to consider my own landscape photography as describing a palimpsest - A complex reading of the pastoral.

I am reminded of my own nascent studies in the History of Art, when John Barrell's 'The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting 1730-1840' was in my booklist ...
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Location: Herefordshire, England

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