Pulitzer Prize, Biography, 2016A deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker author. Barbarian Days is William Finnegan’s memoir of an obsession, a fancy enchantment. Browsing solely seems like a sport. To initiates it’s one thing else completely: a gorgeous dependancy, a demanding course of examine, a morally harmful pastime, a lifestyle. Raised in California and Hawaii, Finnegan began browsing as a baby. He has chased waves all around the world, wandering for years by means of the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, Africa. A bookish boy after which an excessively adventurous younger man, he went on to grow to be a distinguished author and struggle reporter. Barbarian Days takes us deep into unfamiliar worlds, a few of them proper below our noses – off the coasts of New York and San Francisco. It immerses the listener within the edgy camaraderie of shut male friendships annealed in difficult waves. Finnegan shares tales of life in a whites-only gang in a tricky college in Honolulu even whereas his closest pal was a Hawaiian surfer. He exhibits us a world turned the wrong way up for youths and adults alike by the social upheavals of the Sixties. He particulars the intricacies of well-known waves and his personal apprenticeships to them. Youthful folly – he drops LSD whereas using big Honolua Bay on Maui – is served up with rueful humor. He and a buddy, their knapsacks filled with reef charts, bushwhack by means of Polynesia. They uncover, whereas tenting on an uninhabited island in Fiji, one of many world’s biggest waves. As Finnegan’s travels take him ever farther afield, he turns into an unbelievable anthropologist: unpicking the picturesque simplicity of a Samoan fishing village, dissecting the sexual politics of Tongan interactions with People and Japanese, navigating the Indonesian black market whereas practically succumbing to malaria. All through, he surfs, carrying listeners with him on rides of harrowing, unprecedented lucidity.
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