Jonathan Raban is about to sail alone from Seattle to the Alaskan Panhandle, following an ancient sea route rich in history, riddles, and whirlpools. It’s the perfect setting for Raban’s prodigious intellect, eloquence, and eye for detail.
Passage to Juneau is not a travel thriller; the trip is hazardous, but that’s not the point. Instead, Raban takes us on a journey of contemplation, literature, lore, mythology, and science. We learn about the canoe culture of the Northwest Indians; the British ship Discovery, which traveled the same route in 1792; and the physics of waves and turbulence, to name just a few of his far-ranging topics. And, as Raban finds himself in ominously personal waters (his father’s illness, his own marriage, the daughter he left behind), it’s also a journey of the heart.
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