The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama Paperback – 1 Apr 2008
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About the Author
Martin Mitchinson has been a travel writer and photographer for the past ten years. He was born in Saskatoon and raised in northern Alberta, where he later worked in the oil fields to support his travels to Central and South America. He now lives outside Powell River, BC. "The Darien Gap" is his first book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Whether he was enduring perilous hours in a dugout canoe or trekking painfully across the continental divide, Mitchinson held me captivated. By turns I laughed out loud at encounters with endearing characters or was moved by rippling passages of poetry and philosophy.
At its best, and in common with the best of books and journeys, The Darien Gap transforms one's vision of life and of the world. Highly recommended.
In a place that is infamous for kidnappings, Colombian Guerrillas, and thick jungles, Mitchinson performs the unthinkable act of remaining in the region for a year and a half to gather together Darien's many stories into a book that is a pleasure to read. In a series of wonderfully-crafted vignettes, Mitchinson writes with a very personal voice to bring Darien's jungle to the reader - from the 65 million years of ancient geological formation, to native histories, pirates, eccentrics, and ridiculous canal schemes that are part of Darien's past and present.
This book has just been released, but I've found a handful of early reviews:
"What Mitchinson has produced, with bugs, mud, graces, dangers, superstitions and all... is a wonderfully entertaining book full of close observation and flourishes of poetry."
- Garry Geddes, poet and author of "Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things"
"... impressive and compelling..."
"... threading the history of the area, with accounts of its indigenous peoples and early explorations, into a dramatic and involving tapestry. There is much humor here,... passages of genuine suspense, including a harrowing account of a near-drowning in a jungle river..."
- The Vancouver Sun
"... the summer's best read."
- The North Island Midweek
"...hairy enough to scare even the most intrepid armchair traveler. But the stories that he tells of this wild barrier make his book come doubly alive.
Combining one part history with one part travelogue... escape reading at its best."
-The Sun Times
"... personal anecdotes are lush with honesty and sparse with reservation... it sucks you from your reading chair only to plant you in the mangrove swamps of the Darien Gap."
"...intriguing tale connects the reader to Mitchinson, the people of Darien and the Darien province itself."
- Comox Valley Record
for the 2009 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, administered by Wilfred Laurier University.
Congrats, brother and good luck!