Jonathan Raban

05 May 1995
304 pages


Coasting is half travel book, half autobiography, half novel (never mind the arithmetic), marvellously written and superbly constructed. The author's intention was surely to sail through time and place, to chart the coastline of his own past, to take soundings of his future, while bobbing around the edges of Britain...The result is a triumph, and should be read for its evocation of childhood and awkward adolescence, its portrayal of his father, its descriptions of places and sunsets, of incidents and accidents. In short a writer's view of England and the English, including himself. It's the sort of book you put among your favourite books you keep on your desk or table, the ones you pick up over and over again to re-read with undiminished pleasure, the sort you wish you'd written yourself' Beryl Bainbridge, Spectator