The story focuses on eccentrics and adventurous people, suggesting that the remote and wild country attracts and breeds them. I admit to fantasizing about Said clobbering Chatwin over the head with a large rock. A cloud sea, some railings, and some photogenic workmen. From there, it dips into short anecdote after anecdote, divided up roughly by chapters, chronicling the narrator's trip through Argentina to find remains of a great giant sloth that made the papers around the turn of the 20th century. Sort of like a National Geographic article on steroids with ALL the warts included. At least not as much as the people--both livin. Like those predecessors, In Patagonia revolutionised travel writing. Your email address will not be published. Set piece follows set piece, and the whole is rendered in a style that is charismatically terse and angular, existing as a kind of literary Cubism: fragments tilted towards and away from one another in complex relation. With that I am keen to go to all the exotic places that the author visited, those places with Spanish names that are seemingly full of not only Latins but Englishmen and Germans and Welsh and have strange natives and had the likes of North American outlaws gallivanting around the countryside. So far this is an easy 4* book. From stories of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to tea with Welsh ex pats Bruce Chatwin keeps up an interesting narrative as he travels through Chile and Argentina in the 1970s. Patagonia is that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, the major part of which is Argentina and the rest, Chile. Those acid-blue eyes of his, his hunger for high-calibre talk and high-octane gossip: I would have felt too... tested, too slow and plain. In place of photographs we get BC's pithy word pictures. It is rather a collection of 97 very short vignettes (almost like 'palm-in-the-hand' stories), many (as is now generally admitted) partially fictionalized, based on Chatwin's wanderings and readings and musings and imaginings about Patagonia, aka 'the end of the world' (geographically speaking), written throughout with a very odd tilt which is quite unique and which is Chatwin's own. 20: Giving it the David Attenboroughs, Gilbert White’s influence on Charles Darwin. The author, allegedly inspired by schoolboy ponderings over the safest place in a post-nuclear war world and childhood atlas voyages, travels to Patagonia and travels around Welsh settlers, hunts for prehistoric mega beasts said to survive in the wilderness, [ as apparently they do her and there if you believe all the tales that are told, [ shock and horror that a literary writer is not as it turns out a court reporter. Published in 1977, and written during the US- organized fascist junta of Pinochet, Chatwin discusses that elephant in the room in a highly selective and oblique manner, through his interview with a large landowner, dispossessed of her land, during the short-lived Allende presidency. But that's what a writer is for. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. While purporting to be an episodic treatment of various past and present individuals who have been drawn into the orbit of Patagonia, it is quite as fictional as it is nonfiction. Chloe Gong has a lot going on. Found myself slightly underwhelmed by this one. What a crazy place this is! Also confused by how much content was set outside of Patagonia. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through “the uttermost part of the earth”— that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome—in search of almost forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. The people he photographed and named felt that they had been exploited and betrayed when they learned of their presence in these pages. Here’s an extended version. The spur for his journey was a piece of dinosaur skin remembered from his childhood - he goes in search of the mythical beast and to find evidence of the relative who sent the skin home. When I picked it up, I knew I would be reading something out of my normal reading range, though I wasn’t sure in what way. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. The spur for his journey was a piece of dinosaur skin remembered from his childhood - he goes in search of the mythical beast and to find evidence of the relative who sent the skin home. So far this is an easy 4* book. This was published in 1977, and as I read it, I couldn't help but think of Edward Said's Orientalism, published a year later. If you are remotely interested in travel writing, this book is a must. Reading: In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the book more if I had not read the introduction, had not realized that Chatwin held the truth loosely, that he had used people’s stories without permission. I make a guest appearance in episode 16 of Melissa Harrison’s podcast ‘The Stubborn Light of Things’. The truly fine-grained books are always impossible to review or describe. I think this is a bit off. I have, honestly I have. All good travel/ history should have one reaching for google maps and even reading (at worst) wikipedia and I have been doing that. I admit to fantasizing about Said clobbering Chatwin over the head with a large rock. Part-literature, part-history, the slender volume is packed full of diverse and disparate characters and episodes. Part-literature, part-history, the slender volume is packed full of diverse and disparate characters and episodes. Certainly this is true in the case of. March 25th 2003 But some did ring a bell, like the outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Charles Darwin and Ferdinand Magellan (whose fleet passed that way before crossing the Pacific Ocean then getting himself killed in Mactan Island, the Philippines). This is not a travelogue, in any normal sense.