cover image Nowhere Is a Place Sierra Club

Nowhere Is a Place Sierra Club

Bruce Chatwin. Random House (NY), $25 (109pp) ISBN 978-0-87156-500-6

Some 100 exquisite landscape photographs of this mythic region at the end of the earth provide a foil for the authors' lecture before the Royal Geographic Society, first published (without illustrations) in 1986. Both the late Chatwin ( In Patagonia ) and Theroux ( The Old Patagonian Express ) have already recounted their individual experiences in this still-wild, sparsely inhabited and little-visited spot in Chile's Tierra del Duego. Here they delve together into the region's history and legends, tracing its remarkable impact on the imaginations of a multitude of literary figures enraptured by stray travelers' tales of a race of giants, daunting coastlines, vast empty expanses and unimagined creatures of the wild. Patagonia gave lifelong inspiration to W. H. Hudson, who spent his childhood there and was never happy elsewhere; Darwin remarked on it; Poe, Shakespeare, Donne, Coleridge and Melville (among others) wove it into their works. To this feast of erudition, adventure, charming presentation and lovely color photographs, Theroux's introduction adds a vivid memorial of Chatwin. 15,000 first printing. (Oct.)