Run-on Sentence Summary
Bruce Chatwin’s strange, one-of-a-kind account of his adventures through Patagonia.
It is hard to put my finger on this strange little book: it is unlike anything I’ve ever read. The book lacks a consistent overarching plot, instead tying together a slew of vignettes with a loose first person travelogue. The meandering, abbreviated style is hard to keep hold of, but has moments of brilliance.
The stories cover Magellan and Darwin, mylodons and unicorns, gauchos and indios, Nazis and Russians. I get the impression that the stories, presented as fact, border history and fiction. It is impossible to say if any of his travels or people he encounter truly existed, but I found it didn’t much matter.
I read In Patagonia while traveling in the region, and the jarring contrast between his outlandish tales and the developed, touristy locales I visited made it difficult to continue through the book. I definitely I didn’t “get it,” but I’m left with a confused impression that it might have been genius.
“Nathaniel Hawthorne once saw in a museum a stuffed Great Wandering Albatross, with its wingspan of twelve feet, and the idea of such a bird round the Mariner’s neck struck him as yet another instance of the poem’s absurdity."