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Foreign Land

by Jonathan Raban

  • ISBN: 9780375725944
  • ISBN10: 0375725946

Foreign Land

by Jonathan Raban

  • List Price: $14.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 12/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780375725944
  • ISBN10: 0375725946
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Description: George Grey has been abroad for forty years. He returns home nursing a vision of an England that has vanished in his absence. His native country appears to him a cold, hostile, almost friendless wasteland and his homecoming from a warm, comfortable life in Africa is a nightmare. George can neither make head nor tail of his daughter, the last remnant of his family, nor she of him. He is immediately restless in his retirement and at once plans to escape -- not for the first time in his life -- in his own boat to sea.

Once aboard his boat, his ark, George conjures up his earlier life -- and the characters and events of the past become subtly, intricately interwoven with the demons and uncertainties of the present. In the crowded theater of his tossing cockpit the crucial scenes of his life are played out: his childhood with unloving and unlovable parents; his wartime courtship and hasty marriage to a social butterfly; his glory days in the navy; his cozy life in West Africa where he passively shares a mistress with the Minister of Communication; and the (inadvertent) crime which both shapes and haunts his existence. These confused daydreams emerge in steady counterpoint to his growing command of his boat and love of the sea.

With narrative force as strong and unpredictable as the waves of the sea, and in language as beguiling as the winds that carry George's ark, "Foreign Land" is at once comic and profoundly touching. It is a haunting novel that brilliantly explores not only the inevitable solitude of returning home, but the possibility of discovering the freedom of the sea and escaping the banality of the shore.

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