My Paddle to the Sea by John Lane
Eleven Days on the River of the Carolinas (Wormsloe Foundation Nature Book)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



Three months after a family vacation in Costa Rica ends in tragedy when two fellow rafters die on the flooded Rio Reventazón, John Lane sets out with friends from his own backyard in upcountry South Carolina to calm his nerves and to paddle to the sea.

Like Huck Finn, Lane sees a river journey as a portal to change, but unlike Twain’s character, Lane isn’t escaping. He’s getting intimate with the river that flows right past his home in the Spartanburg suburbs. Lane’s three-­hundred-mile float trip takes him down the Broad River and into Lake Marion before continuing down the Santee River. Along the way Lane recounts local history and spars with streamside literary presences such as Mind of the South author W. J. Cash; Henry Savage, author of the Rivers of America Series volume on the Santee; novelist and Pulitzer Prize–winner Julia Peterkin; early explorer John Lawson; and poet and outdoor writer Archibald Rutledge. Lane ponders the sites of old cotton mills; abandoned locks, canals, and bridges; ghost towns fallen into decay a century before; Indian mounds; American Revolutionary and Civil War battle sites; nuclear power plants; and boat landings. Along the way he encounters a cast of characters Twain himself would envy—perplexed fishermen, catfish clean­ers, river rats, and a trio of drug-addled drifters on a lonely boat dock a day’s paddle from the sea.

By the time Lane and his companions finally approach the ocean about forty miles north of Charleston they have to fight the tide and set a furious pace. Through it all, paddle stroke by paddle stroke, Lane is reminded why life and rivers have always been wedded together.


About John Lane

See more books from this Author
John Lane’s books includeWaist Deep in Black Water,The Woods Stretched for Miles,Chattooga: Descending into the Myth of Deliverance River, andCircling Home(all Georgia); several volumes of poetry; andThe Best of the Kudzu Telegraph, a selection of his columns. Lane is an associate professor of English and environmental studies at Wofford College.
Published October 1, 2011 by University of Georgia Press. 223 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Paddle to the Sea

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Exploring the past as he travels peacefully down the river, Lane has an important realization: “A river trip that I was imagining as a journey, an adventure, had been, only two hundred years earlier, as common as a road trip on a present-day interstate highway.” A final arduous paddle against t...

| Read Full Review of My Paddle to the Sea: Eleven ...

Rate this book!

Add Review