Monday, 11 February 2008

Robert Twigger, Voyageur

I finally got round to reading the rest of Robert Twigger's Voyageur, his account of his attempt to cross Canada in a birchbark canoe. I'm glad I did, because, as well as the sheer scale of the feat, the book is an entertaining and thought provoking travel log that's as much about the places passed through as the expedition.

I won't claim that this is a fantastically light or easy read. At 390 pages, it's not, and Twigger's matter of fact prose doesn't lend itself to marathon reading sessions. At the same time, it's this tone that manages to bring across the reality of the trip so well. He reminds us at every turn that, while he'd probably love to be heroic, he and his crew are just ordinary people. That makes their successes and failures far more touching than if they'd been those of a 'professional' explorer. His concern for doing the journey in an 'authentic' way seems at odds with the modern tendency to take the easiest way possible, but also speaks to the part of many people that distrusts modern, easy solutions to problems. It's definitely worth reading.

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