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Coasting: A Private Voyage
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Coasting: A Private Voyage

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Put Jonathan Raban on a boat and the results will be fascinating, and never more so than when he’s sailing around the serpentine, 2,000-mile coast of his native England. In this acutely perceived and beautifully written book, the bestselling author of Bad Land turns that voyage–which coincided with the Falklands war of 1982-into an occasion for meditations on his country, ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 4th 2003 by Vintage (first published February 15th 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Reading this book at the moment and finding it very satisfying and up there with Passage to Juneau - by the same author and in a similar vein. I do worry about his relationships with women though. At the start he decribes being galvanised by earlier sailing books written by authors with "philistine certainties .... and chauvinistic attitudes towards women". Not referring to himself of course, but most of the characters he connects with in the book are men, and he talks about his relationship wit ...more
Gail Pool
To some degree the traveler is always an outsider. For the travel writer this poses a risk: there are journeys where he never gains entry; his account is that of a stranger in a land he doesn’t understand. Yet it can also work to his advantage: the very detachment of being an outsider can serve to sharpen his perceptions and observations.

In "Coasting", Jonathan Raban plays the outsider’s role wonderfully as a traveler in his own land. In 1982, at 40, the British travel writer set out to sail aro
Cedric Rose
If you're an anglophile and a boat-o-phile and a limnophile, you're going to love this book. Raban delivers his usual heavy dose of esotera and history... some of it in the making here: The Falklands conflict gets under way, coal miners are going on strike, and England is decaying as Raban sets sailing in the Gosfield Maid.
Read this with 'The kingdom by the sea' by Paul Theroux. Theroux walks around the UK, Raban sails. They meet each other and both report the meeting in their book. Let's say they have a different perspective. I like Raban's best - and he's a better writer than Theroux.
Best find yet from the free little library box in my neighbourhood. My edition is from the 1980s and doesn't have a subtitle. I was really drawn in to Raban's prose but part way through the book was a little disappointed that (a) he doesn't talk about that many British coast towns (I can only remember the Isle of Man, Fowey, Brighton, Rye, London, Hull, Essex) - that's what the book is supposed to be about! and (b) he seems to have a passive-agressive vendetta against Paul Theroux, which he insi ...more
Stacy Bearse
This is a wonderful book, less about sailing, and more about life in England in the early 1980s. Raban hugged the British coast during his 3000-mile journey, frequently stopping in ports to interact with the locals and learn about their history. His perspectives on the state of England's fishing and coal industries were depressing when written in 1982, and would be even more disappointing if written today. Raban is particularly nettled by the faux history re-created by towns and villages despera ...more
Bill Ibelle
If you are a sailor, this is a great read. If you're not a sailor, it's still quite interesting.
Bob Roller
Jul 01, 2008 Bob Roller rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: y'all
“Knocking about from port to port, you keep on going past the port you originally started out from. In that regard at least, coasting is a lot more lifelike than those epic journeys which reduce the world to a magnificent straight line of conquest; and the coaster’s chronic itch, to be moving on only in order to get nearer home, his never-quite-knowing whether he’s returning or running away, are more real, in a daily way, than the exotic compulsions of the serious travelers who voyage intrepidly ...more
Michael Harris
After reading my first of His Passage to Juneau, I ordered three others from Amazon. Coasting, published in 1987, chronicles his journey sailing completely around England Scotland and Wales. He weaves the coastal cites and towns into a personal story and one heavily laced with quotations from writings about sailing or the places he visits. His style is perfect as you begin to feel you are a stowaway on the boat.
Jul 30, 2011 Susan added it
Recommended by various crew members of the Annabel J on a voyage from St. Mawes to The Isles of Scilly, I found the book on the "take me" table of a B&B back after returning to land, and read it cover to cover. Already a fan of Raban, I wondered how I missed it before, then realized it came into my life at exactly the right time.
I came away from this feeling like I hadn't read anything at all. That is to say, it felt like there was nothing to this book. Perhaps this was too personal, full of details and musings only the author could enjoy. His book Passage to Juneau is much better.
Fiona Hopkins
I found this to be rather boring and a little pretentious. I don't feel anything after finishing this other than relieved! Wouldn't recommend.
Tattered Cover Book Store
Sept 08 pick for the Travel Lovers' Book Club, discussion 9-8-08 at 5:30 pm at Tattered Cover Colfax Ave.
Parts of it I really liked, parts of it I just couldn't getinto and skipped over.
Discontinuous Permafrost
Good book by an author that is great at writing about the sea.
Aug 10, 2012 David added it
I love sailing books, so this was a natural.
Peter Boyles
nice assumptions
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