Alex V.'s Reviews > In Patagonia

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
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May 04, 11

Read in May, 2011

What a singular, breathtakingly effortless book! I'm in the midst of the final editing of a travel book of my own and I had to put this down for later, lest I start turning my own work into a pale imitation of Chatwin's breezy empathic prose. The way he weaves through the lives of those he meets in Patagonia, the conceit of the piece of brontosaurus skin his grandmother kept in the china cabinet that set him on this journey, even the mild controversy around the veracity of Chatwin's accounts - it is genius storytelling. If I was in a position to be read a bedtime story every night as an adult, In Patagonia is the book for which I would continually grab. It's an adventure not on the high seas or even in desperate times, but in the basic drama of human existence and how the frame of the unfamiliar can put the personally familiar into sharp focus. And it's funny! I love when people think the world is amusing, because it is.
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