What can be said that is new about this all-time great? But then again this is the third time I have read it and it seems to strike me in a new way every time. Quite a thing to manage after nearly 300 years. This time the thing that struck me was Crusoe’s mindless determination to overcome – in the end – every obstacle that was put in his way. He wanted to farm goats and he did. He wanted to make pottery casks and he did. He wanted a boat…Ok, I know this is a novel and not a true story – let’s not go down that same trail that almost got Defoe burned at the stake of 17th Century literary zealots for telling such unbelievable ‘lies.’ This book is widely believed to have been the first fictional novel and although based on a real character Defoe had to fight for his right to invent a good story. It’s inspiring that he gave his hero such dogged determination…but then as Crusoe himself points out (albeit in olde-Englishe) with 28 years on that island there was bugger-all else he had to fill his time.
If I recall I bought this book in Charing Cross, London, and it has been on my shelf for years. Finally read it again (after a TV producer contacted me asking if I’d be interested in shooting a documentary as a new Crusoe). I read it during a jungle expedition in Chiapas, Mexico and a rivertrip down the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua. Left it with a friend in Managua. Hope she helped it along the road.
Kitbaggers book project – travel literature on speed.
Have you ever handled a classic paperback and wondered where it’s been and whose hands it passed through? Do you love the well-handled look of a book that’s obviously seen decades of serious mileage through places you might only have imagined?
This project was conceived long ago through a conversation (in San Jose, Costa Rica) between a group of friends who’d wondered about these same things and thought it would be interesting to try to trace the history of just a few random books that we read on the road.
More than just a review – this is also the story of a single adventurous copy that’s probably still out there touring the world somewhere. Let us know if you find it.
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