Driving Home by Jonathan Raban
An American Journey

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Synopsis

For more than thirty years, Jonathan Raban has written with infectious fascination about people and places in transition or on the margins, about journeys undertaken and destinations never quite reached, and, as an Englishman transplanted in Seattle, about what it means to feel rooted in America. Spanning two decades, Driving Home charts a course through the Pacific Northwest, American history, and current events as witnessed by “a super-sensitive, all-seeing eye. Raban spots things we might otherwise miss; he calls up the apt metaphors that transform things into phenomena. He is one of our most gifted observers” (Newsday).
 
Stops en route include a Missoula bar, a Tea Party convention in Nashville hosted by Sarah Palin, the Mississippi in full flood, a trip to Hawaii with his daughter, a steelhead river in the Cascades, and the hidden corners of his adopted hometown, Seattle. He deftly explores public and personal spaces, poetry and politics, geography and catastrophe, art and economy, and the shifts in various arenas that define our society. Whether the topic is Robert Lowell or Barack Obama, or how various painters, explorers, and homesteaders have engaged with our mythical and actual landscape, he has an outsider’s eye for the absurd, and his tone is intimate, never nostalgic, and always fresh.
 
Frank, witty, and provocative, Driving Home is part essay collection, part diary—and irresistibly insightful about America’s character, contradictions, and idiosyncrasies.




From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Jonathan Raban

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Jonathan Raban is the author, most recently, of the novels Surveillance and Waxwings; his nonfiction includes Passage to Juneau and Bad Land. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/West Creative Nonfiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award, and the Governor's Award of the State of Washington. He lives in Seattle.
 
Published September 13, 2011 by Pantheon. 513 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Driving Home

Kirkus Reviews

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Throughout his American odyssey, Raban writes about Mark Twain, Puget Sound, the Mississippi River floods, the dams on the Columbia River, waves along the Oregon coast, the sailor Joshua Slocum, sailing, the evolving architecture of Seattle, Seahawks’ fans in Montana, the vicissitudes of Robert L...

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

The New York Times

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Given its title, some readers will pick up Jonathan Raban’s new book, “Driving Home: An American Journey,” and assume that it’s among his excellent travel volumes, like “Bad Land” and “Passage to Juneau.” They may be distressed to find instead that it’s a collection of B sides, odds and ends, aco...

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

The New York Times

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Jonathan Raban’s essays describe how he left England for a new life in Seattle.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Publishers Weekly

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With his characteristic curiosity and his insatiable desire to drink as deeply as he can from the wells of landscape or literature, Raban (Passage to Juneau) once again vividly captures the experience of trying to make a home in a place that he continues to find fascinating, bizarre, ugly, beauti...

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

The Wall Street Journal

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In one essay, Mr. Raban travels to the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state, a New Deal-inspired scheme to supply water and power to the people of the Columbia River Basin, which turned the place into a wasteland of poor, lifeless towns for the sake—as Mr. Raban rightly says—of supplying cheap el...

Sep 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

New York Journal of Books

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“Highly recommended for anyone who wants to look at life and the United States from a new viewpoint—and to savor the sounds, tastes, scents, and textures while at it.” The writing and publishing community routinely argues the question of what makes a book “literary.” After reading Jonathan Raban’...

Sep 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Dallas News

Few can craft a phrase — or a thought — like the English-born novelist, travel writer and essayist Jonathan Raban, as those of us who scan the New York Review of Books, Granta and bookstore shelves for his byline can attest.

Oct 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

wildlife agencies manage new demands on human resources Penguins offense bedevils Brodeur in 5-1 win Inside job: The airport deserved a real pro on a key...

Sep 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Oregon Live

Jonathan Raban's new collection of essays, "Driving Home: An American Journey," could easily have been titled "The Jonathan Raban Reader," as the brisk, smartly crafted pieces are just that representative of Raban's long and illustrative writing life.

Sep 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

rather, "the landscape of the Pacific Northwest was in itself an unrealistic stretch of country—it was just naturally fabulous.” It has been one of the great pleasures of the past twenty years to watch Raban discover this landscape for himself.

Sep 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

The New Yorker

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Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Metro

So while… Top Pet Buys – How to keep your dog warm this winter It’s freezing outside and it’s not much better inside.

Jul 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Spectator Book Club

‘The Pacific Northwest continues to be a magnet — the strongest regional magnet in the country, I would guess — for hopefuls and newlifers of every imaginable cast,’ Raban wrote in the summer of 1993, in a piece that’s now republished in Driving Home: It feels like the last surviving corner of...

Aug 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Driving Home: An American Jou...

Reader Rating for Driving Home
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