Following Farley Mowat’s bestselling memoir, Otherwise, the literary lion returns with an unexpected triumph
Eastern Passage is a new and captivating piece of the puzzle of Farley Mowat’s life: the years from his return from the north in the late 1940s to his discovery of Newfoundland and his love affair with the sea in the 1950s. This was a time in which he wrote his first books and weathered his first storms of controversy, a time when he was discovering himself through experiences that, as he writes, "go to the heart of who and what I was" during his formative years as a writer and activist.
In the 1950s, with his career taking off but his first marriage troubled, Farley Mowat buys a piece of land northwest of Toronto and attempts to settle down. His accounts of building his home are by turns hilarious and affecting, while the insights into his early work and his relationship with his publishers offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a writer’s career.
But in the end, his restless soul could not be pinned to one place, and when his father offered him a chance to sail down the St. Lawrence, he jumped at it, not realizing that his journey would bring him face to face with one of Canada’s more shocking secrets – one most of us still don’t know today. This horrific incident, recalling as it did the lingering aftermath of war, and from which it took the area decades to recover, would forge the final tempering of Mowat as the activist we know today.
Farley Mowat grows wiser and more courageous with each passing year, and Eastern Passage is a funny, astute, and moving book that reveals that there is more yet to this fascinating and beloved figure than we think we know.
Mowat, a well-known Canadian writer, naturalist, and activist, has written extensively on indigenous peoples, destruction of natural habitats, and nuclear scandals. In this difficult memoir, he looks back to the late 40s and early 50s, when he was a struggling young writer. Those familiar with Mowat's body of work will be thrilled by his recounting of the difficulties he had getting published and the privations he and his wife faced early on. They will also likely be shocked to learn of an American nuclear explosion that occurred in Quebec's Saguenay river, an event kept quiet by both governments for some time. Mowat has tremendous facility with language, but he approaches his life story with a rough and tumble stream of consciousness style that will be difficult to follow for new readers.
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What a delightful book. An easy read. A hilarious account of our Canadian treasure farly moats early life as a writer. Love this book!