``I grew up in jolts, from one suddenly realized thing to another,'' writes Watkins, whose first novel, Night Over Day Over Night , was nominated for the Booker Prize. In this first nonfiction work, he applies his generous, fully controlled prose to an examination of his not-so-distant boyhood and the sources of his calling. American-born of Welsh ancestry, Watkins was sent at the age of seven to the Dragon School, an English boarding school, where he would prepare for his later entrance to Eton. His moving, unsentimental narrative captures his responses to being separated from his family and thrust into another country and, simultaneously, his feelings of becoming an alien in his own land, which he visited on vacations. Recollections of loneliness and schoolboy cruelties blend with memories of his Rhode Island home, time spent with his family and his awareness that his father was dying. Yet Watkins credits the rigors of English schooling with prompting him to ``chisel out an hour here and there . . . setting sail in the great full-sail schooner of my dreams.'' (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994 Release date: 02/01/1994 Genre: Nonfiction
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