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Trawler
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About the Author

A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Literature, Redmond O'Hanlon was the natural history editor of The Times Literary Supplement for fifteen years. He lives near Oxford, England, with his wife and their two children. "Among contemporary travel writers," according to The Washington Post, "he has the best nose for the globe's precious few remaining blank spots . . . Long may he trudge and paddle."

The following books by O'Hanlon are available in Vintage paperback: Into the Heart of Borneo
"A learned and sensitive book as well as a knockabout farce." -The New York Review of Books In Trouble Again: A Journey Between the Orinoco and the Amazon
"When Evelyn Waugh . . . and Graham Greene traveled, the going was still rough . . . Redmond O'Hanlon, hacking his way up an unmapped tributary of the Amazon, fearful (and not without good reason) of ending his days in someone's cooking pot, has managed to keep that tradition alive." -Jonathan Raban No Mercy: A Journey into the Heart of the Congo
"Old-fashioned, gut-wrenching, real-life adventure . . . As much an inner journey that explores fear, religion, magic and childhood as it is a dangerous trek into the depths of the jungle." -Time

Reviews

Having satisfied much of his yearning to see the world, O'Hanlon (Into the Heart of Borneo) takes a voyage that most people would find profoundly unglamorous: an extended journey into the wild seas off the coast of Scotland in a fishing trawler. His apt and evocative descriptions of the ship and of the men who sail on her make it easy to understand why he has earned a place in the short list of contemporary travel writers. While it's doubtful that reading O'Hanlon's title will make anyone want to rush out and book passage on a Scottish trawler, his skillful way with words makes us believe we are safely aboard the Norlantean and sailing off with Luke, Sean, Jerry, and the rest of the irascible crew. His discovery of shipboard superstitions (no green, no women, etc.), his fondness for the idle-time gossip among the men, and his development of an intense fascination for the sea and for the creatures that are hauled up in the fishing nets all contribute in making Trawler a delightful read for travel aficionados. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Deviating from his usual excursions into the world's rainforests, O'Hanlon (No Mercy) finagles his way onto a Scottish deep-sea fishing boat headed into the North Atlantic waters in January, "the very worst time of year," when storm winds are at their most forceful. The captain and crew seem to like O'Hanlon well enough, even if he is a "mad, seasick writer who's no use to anyone," prone to staring off into the distance when he gets distracted by his thoughts, and he conveys a genuine affection for them as he records their stories. Since there's little to do aboard the ship other than help his marine biologist friend catalogue the various fishes they pull up, and no real scenery to describe besides the wind and the rain, O'Hanlon gets into one long conversation after another-or maybe just one long conversation with intermittent interruptions, as a certain degree of sameness creeps in. O'Hanlon and his shipmates are equally excitable, especially under their sleep-deprived conditions, leading to dialogue peppered with exclamation points and fevered theories about near-total homosexuality within the 19th-century British navy and the possibility that women find trawlermen attractive because fish smell like human pheromones. Though the unrelenting, incongruous manic tone may be off-putting to newcomers, fans of O'Hanlon's trouble-filled sagas will feel right at home. Photos, illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Peter Matson of Sterling Lord. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Edifying and hugely entertaining. . . . O'Hanlon's is a magnificently original voice: manic, scholarly, funny, sumptuously descriptive, and more than slightly deranged." -Jon Krakauer

"One of the most thrilling and inspiring books about science I've ever read . . . hours of pleasure offered by an enchanting dinner guest [who] often reveals himself to be foolishly bold, comically inept, intellectually astute and a madcap driver: Mr. Toad with a Ph.D."
-Bruce Barcott, The New York Times Book Review "Trawler read[s] like The Perfect Storm meets Monty Python."-Outside "O'Hanlon is an adventurer worthy of the word-a credentialed naturalist, a rompish wanderer, a sparkling armchair companion, a bit of a goof and also a smashingly evocative writer. . . . In that wild and exhilarating junction where human and nature meet, he pursues the joys of discovery."-Los Angeles Times Book Review

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