‘Having arrived in Liverpool, I took a ship for the New World . . . ’
For hundred of years this sentence has tantalized and inspired Europeans. Jonathan Raban followed in the steps of Hector St John de Crèvecoeur – Mr Heartbreak – and several million other emigrants to discover America and the immigrant experience afresh. From Liverpool docks he sailed to New York and travelled on to Alabama, Seattle and the Florida Keys. Wherever he went there was a new identity to discover, a new life to live . . .
‘A mordantly funny book that presents itself as a work of reportage but proves to be a work of literature in disguise. It is literary not only in the tightrope acrobatics of its style; its exhilarating verbal inventiveness manages to transform the familiar images and vocabulary of American life into startling novelties’ Edward Mendselson, Daily Telegraph
‘The best book ever written by an Englishman about the United States’ Jan Morris, Independent Books of the Year
‘He is most certainly the finest writer afloat since Conrad, and few landlubbers have equalled either his acuteness or his sense of style’ Geoffrey Moorhouse, Guardian