Best known for his travel writing ( Arabia and Old Glory ), Raban has also been a teacher and critic, and in these recollections covering 20 years he integrates selections from his book reviews and occasional pieces with autobiographical musings as ``Shelleyblake.'' Raban's world encompasses English and American literature (from Byron and Thackeray to Robert Lowell and Tom Wolfe), travel writers (Stevenson, Freya Stark, Belloc and Edmund Wilson), the English cyclone of 1987, the delights of fishing and his own experiences in the Cape Verde Islands and the Florida Keys. In this storehouse of literary pleasures his remarks about writers are vigorous and unexpected: ``Trollope's exploration of social terror is in some ways very close to Kafka's exploration of psychological terror''; Evelyn Waugh makes the Sitwells sound absurd ``by reporting on them with the deadly accuracy of an unsmiling child''; Huckleberry Finn is not a masterpiece in the ordinary sense, but ``it is the only novel in American literature that has the permanent, enchanting and mysterious power of an ancient myth.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989 Release date: 10/01/1989 Genre: Nonfiction
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