Sunday, March 8, 2009

Book Review: The Water in Between

By Kevin Patterson.

A canuck doctor, carrying a heavy load of Northern Prairie ennui, and pining over a couple of lost love affairs, takes to sea in hopes of finding something in Tahiti. What's the something? He's not sure, but he spends a lot of time reading and thinking about the traveling he's doing.

I enjoyed it and got caught up in the narrative, as well as the dialogue he has with the books he reads along the way. His outward trip is undertaken with a guy he meets at the docks, a guy in a similar mopey-pining mood.

The other characters present for most of the trip are Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux. Patterson does a good job of mixing in his understanding of these guys and their writings, while contemplating his own desire to be out on this journey.

He's frank about his inexpert boathandling and some of the problems that arise from his mistakes. He also does a good job of putting you out there in the horse latitudes, as he and Don drift in the daily langour of the Pacific High.

Well-written and a good read if you like the long passages of other's work included with the descriptions of the people he meets along the way and the adventures they experience.

Interestingly, they end up going the hard way. Boat problems force them to head to Hawaii and they they have to beat back to the Cooks and Tahiti. Patterson returns to Canada to make some more money.

When he returns, he has brought a couple of recruits and they all sail the boat back to Hawaii together, where Patterson ends up alone, as the others must return to jobs. He singlehands back to B.C.

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