William Finnegan


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New York, The United States
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William Finnegan is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has won several awards for his journalism and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for his work "Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life."

Average rating: 4.18 · 11,159 ratings · 1,321 reviews · 7 distinct worksSimilar authors
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

4.19 avg rating — 10,746 ratings — published 2015 — 25 editions
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Cold New World: Growing Up ...

4.03 avg rating — 207 ratings — published 1998 — 7 editions
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A Complicated War: The Harr...

4.01 avg rating — 75 ratings — published 1992 — 3 editions
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Crossing the Line: A Year i...

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4.12 avg rating — 59 ratings — published 1986 — 6 editions
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Dateline Soweto: Travels wi...

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4.10 avg rating — 10 ratings — published 1989 — 4 editions
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The Encyclopedia of Surfing

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4.29 avg rating — 52 ratings — published 2003 — 2 editions
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America - Numéro 2

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4.64 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 2017
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“The particulars of new places grabbed me and held me, the sweep of new coasts, cold, lovely, dawns. The world was incomprehensibly large, and there was still so much to see. Yes, I got sick sometimes of being an expatriate, always ignorant, on the outside of things, but I didn't feel ready for domestic life, for seeing the same people, the same places, thinking more or less the same thoughts, each day. I liked surrendering to the onrush, the uncertainty, the serendipity of the road.”
William Finnegan, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

“In a recent interview, he compared himself to surfers: “What are they doing this for? It’s just pure. You’re alone. That wave is so much bigger and stronger than you. You’re always outnumbered. They always can crush you. And yet you’re going to accept that and turn it into a little, brief, meaningless art form.”
William Finnegan, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

“I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its moods now. The attachment felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops. I was getting more hardheaded. Now I knew they originated in distant storms, which moved, as it were, upon the face of the deep. But my utter absorption in surfing had no rational content. It simply compelled me; there was a deep mine of beauty and wonder in it. Beyond that, I could not have explained why I did it. I knew vaguely that it filled a psychic cavity of some kind—connected, perhaps, with leaving the church, or with, more likely, the slow drift away from my family—and that it had replaced many things that came before it. I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries.”
William Finnegan, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

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