Driving Home: An American Scrapbook by Jonathan Raban - review by Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler

Jacks On A Table

Driving Home: An American Scrapbook


Picador 604pp £20

In 1989, Jonathan Raban’s For Love and Money collected twenty years of selected essays, articles and squibs on travel, literature and the business of writing. Driving Home covers the next two decades. Much has changed in that period, both for the author and in the world he observes, but the distinctive Raban voice still carries loud and clear. ‘When you do find a match between the provisional words in your head and that shadowy, half-buried recollection of events,’ he writes in this scintillating new book, ‘there’s no mistaking it; it’s as plain as a pair of jacks on a table.’ He could have taken those last four words as his title.

Familiar themes include the conflict between conservation and exploitation, the joys of sailing, the concept of wilderness, and the manifestation of successive cross-hatchings of humanity on a landscape. The big shift since the last collection occurred in 1990 when Raban moved to Seattle. The character and evolution of

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