Wise, funny and beautifully written, The Water in Between is an inspiring-and cautionary-tale for anyone who has ever wanted to escape into another life.
A stint in the army and a broken heart lead Kevin Patterson, who has never sailed before, to buy a 37-foot sailboat. He recruits a more experienced sailor-another brokenhearted guy-and together they set sail for Tahiti, hoping to burn away their miseries in hard miles at sea.
At first Patterson finds life under sail distinctly less heroic than the travel literature that has inspired him. But when his companion remains behind, Patterson single-handedly sails his boat across the North Pacific and through a perilous four-day gale, truly testing himself against the elements.
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During the dark days Kevin Patterson spent in the Canadian army on a desolate artillery base, his only solace--besides alcohol--was reading. He began to read travel literature--Redmond O'Hanlon, Eric Newby, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Paul Theroux--and became attracted to the idea of the solitary nomad. Then he read Bruce Chatwin: first In Patagonia, then The Songlines--"and I was done for."
Looking back, I think that after reading Chatwin it became inevitable that I would set out for a blank horizon and an inhospitable environment. But a desire for withdrawal into desolate topography comes from some place other than a writer's evocative suggestion. And is fed by something other than optimism.
A broken heart following a brief but painful love affair drove Patterson to the end of the pier--and onto a 20-year-old, 37-foot ferro-cement sailboat called the Sea Mouse. No, he didn't know how to sail. He'd never been at sea before. But he was convinced it would be easy to learn, and that he needed to be alone at sea. In the end, Patterson set sail with a stranger--another man trying to leave everything behind him, but one who knew how to sail--to journey from British Columbia to Tahiti.
The Water In Between recounts their voyage. At times wryly funny, Patterson's tale is more often tinged with melancholy. The sailors meet other travelers, visit remote locales, and survive both storm and calm. Through it all, the shadowy presence of Bruce Chatwin remains at Patterson's side--and sometimes hangs around his neck like an albatross. Perhaps solitude was not the solution? As a storm raged around him, Patterson "sat there on my bouncing boat with an intimation of disquiet--if even Chatwin couldn't realize his ideal, what was I doing here, emulating him?"
Although landlubbers may be confused by some of the nautical language ("I hoisted a reefed mizzen sail and sheeted in tightly"), the strength and the heart of this book is Patterson's prose. His honest writing makes for smooth reading, but the inclusion of dozens of lengthy quotations from Patterson's favorite authors sometimes leaves the text choppy. Readers may also feel they've been left adrift by the abrupt ending. And if it's adventure you seek, look elsewhere (try The Perfect Storm or Fastnet, Force 10 for that). Those conditions aside, The Water In Between is a beautiful, somewhat haunting book--a thought-provoking meditation on solitude and the call of the wild unknown. --Sunny DelaneyFrom the Back Cover:
"A first rate, quietly enthralling account othat belongs on the shelf with Theroux's Happy Isles of Oceania, Raban's sailings, and the work of landlubber Chatwin." -Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review
"[A]n old fashioned story of personal adventure that probes its own themes with subversive intelligence." -The New York Times
"If a klutz like Patterson can sail to the South Seas, so can you. But writing about it this well is something else again." -Outside
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Sent within 24 hours. Expedited UK delivery available. Number of pages: 304. Ex. Library copy - usual stamps and marks. Bookseller Inventory # BBI188566
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 26/07/2001, 2001. Book Condition: Good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140290912
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The Water in Between: A Journey at Sea This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780140290912
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 26/07/2001, 2001. Book Condition: Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 2341-9780140290912
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd 26/07/2001, 2001. Book Condition: Very Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Bookseller Inventory # 6545-9780140290912
Book Description Penguin, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Fair. Paperback; English language; a fair reading copy; colour fading to cover and spine. Your book will be securely packed and promptly dispatched from our UK warehouse. For buyers outside the UK we now offer significantly lower rates on our airmail shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 20292kdm039
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. All items inspected and guaranteed. All Orders Dispatched from the UK within one working day. Established business with excellent service record. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000048406
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Next day dispatch. International delivery available. 1000's of satisfied customers! Please contact us with any enquiries. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000029820
Book Description Penguin Books, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. No Jacket. Good condition paperback pictorial cover no DJ. 289 pages good and clean with clear print. 'The joy of this book is that Patterson sees the absurd side of his adventure - A lovely book about isolation and company, about growing up, about wonder and disillusion. It is a hymn to setting off cross and coming home content. No foxing, previous owner has written name inside front cover. Bookseller Inventory # 016969