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The Water in Between
By

Rating
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.
Product Details

About the Author

Kevin Patterson grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian Army. When his stint was up, he worked as a doctor in the Arctic and on the B.C. coast while studying for his MFA at UBC. His short fiction has been published in Descant and Canadian Fiction Magazine. He is currently a resident in internal medicine at Dalhousie in Halifax and a regular corres-pondent for Saturday Night magazine. The Sea Mouse is moored on Salt Spring Island. From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

In the story of a 1984 sailing adventure from Vancouver Island to Tahiti and back, ex-Canadian army doctor Patterson finds himself in the horse latitudes north of the equator, on an idyllic atoll in the South Pacific and in all manner of dull and violent weather. He deftly and modestly chronicles the sea wrack he encounters, how he learned enough to make the final leg of the voyage from Hawaii on his own and how he recovered from a broken heart. That would be accomplishment enough for such a tale, but Patterson attempts to reinvent the genre of travel literature as practiced by Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux. With charming self-knowledge, he sees such writing as missing the ultimate experience of travel: homesickness. Perhaps, Patterson questions, loosening oneself from the habits and possessions of a settled life is not the pinnacle of human experience Chatwin or most memoirists of sea life suggest. Perhaps the purpose of lonesome traveling is a new appreciation of home. After all, how noble is it to be in the wilderness, away from all comforts? "It's not a succession of good and compassionate decisions that leads someone to decide they may not take pleasure again," he writes. It's an original, audacious idea to build into such a story, and Patterson is a good enough writer to construct an engaging read. In the end, the book doesn't create fully satisfying secondary characters nor a resounding conclusion-but those are relatively small criticisms given the insight, authenticity and courage of Patterson's good work. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Patterson, a Canadian army doctor upset over a failed love affair, decided to buy a sailboat and set sail for Tahiti. He knew nothing about sailing and had never been to sea. The man who joined him was a love-lorn but experienced bluewater sailor named Don. The two prepared the boat for the voyage, bought provisions, and set sail. After loosing the anchor and carelessly damaging a crucial head sail, they decided to head to Hawaii to buy parts, but their course change left them becalmed for weeks. When they eventually make it to Tahiti, Patterson was low on money and had to return to Canada to work. Don sailed the boat back to Penrhyn, an atoll they visited on the way to Tahiti that was close to their vision of paradise. Patterson delves deeply into the personality of the sailor and includes quotes from countless sailing and travel books. A good purchase for public libraries.DJohn Kenny, San Francisco P.L. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"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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