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Jonathan Raban Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Technique of Modern Fiction (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Society of the Poem (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Soft City (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Arabia (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Old Glory: A Voyage Down the Mississippi (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bad Land (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Coasting: A Private Voyage (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
For Love and Money: A Writing Life, 1969-1989 (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hunting Mister Heartbreak (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Oxford Book of the Sea (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
My Holy War: Dispatches from the Home Front (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Driving Home: An American Journey (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Father and Son (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Jonathan Raban was a British critic, travel writer, and novelist who made his name writing detailed accounts of his travels across the world.
The author was born in 1942 in Norfolk and was the son of an Anglican clergyman in several vicarages in the Church of England.

His family was not very well off but what they had were several connections in the upper middle class, a one-time country house, and a coat of arms.

They belonged nowhere as according to the author, they had the voices of one lot and the money of another. They also had an unearthly goodliness that removed them altogether from the social map.
Jonathan was an acclaimed novelist and travel writer and one of the most iconic Seattle residents.

For his work, he won the Circle Award from the National Book Critics for nonfiction, The Stranger Genius Award in literature, and the Governor’s Award of the State of Washington among other gongs.
Jonathan Raban was also known to support the Seattle Public Library and also served as an essay judge for their Civic Courage Scholarship for more than ten years.

As for his very early beginnings, Jonathan Raban was sent to boarding school which he despised. He would ultimately end up at Hull University where he studied English.

During his time there, he used to be a library committee organizer and brought to the college Philip Larkin who was known for notoriously avoiding students.

In 1964, he got married to Bridget Johnson his first wife who was a fellow student. Following his graduation, he taught American and English literature at Aberystwyth and then proceeded to East Anglia.
At the latter, he was a huge fan of American authors such as Philip Roth, Bernard Malamud, and Saul Bellow, and even published a study of “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

In 1969, Malcolm Bradbury advised him to move to London where he began working as a freelance writer.

Working in Grub Street which was on its last legsby this time, he used to review books while he lived in a house he shared with Lady Caroline Blackwood, the writer, and Robert Lowell the poet.
At some point, he joined a group emerging around the “New Review” magazine, which then used to meet in “Pillars of Hercules” pub in Soho.

In 1974 he published a work that was a mix of London observation and personal memoir titled “Soft City.”

In 1990, he moved to the United States after he met his third wife in Seattle where he lived for the rest of his life. In 2011, he suffered a stroke and he would be confined to a wheelchair from that time forward.
He was fifty years old when he fathered Julia who is his only child.

He often thought of his writing which was a combination of travel writing and memoir as a way of getting away from genre writing.

In 1985, he published his first fiction novel “Foreign Land,” which he then followed up with “Waxwings” in 2003 and “Surveillance” in 2006. By the time of his death in 2023, he had at least twenty works to his name most of them nonfiction works.
According to his agent Clare Alexander, Raban always wanted to be known as a writer even after he had his stroke.
He completed his memoir shortly before he became too ill to write.

“Waxwings” by Jonathan Rabanis a work set in the late 1990s that tells of the life and time of several Seattle residents.

The lead in the novel is a University of Washington professor of Literature and also British novelist Thomas Janeway. His life has been coming apart even in the US even though he deeply loves Finn his four-year-old son.
Beth his wife of several years is so engrossed in the explosion of the dot com era that they have now grown apart.

With Seattle erupting in the terrorist plots and WTO riots, Janeway’s life is crumbling all around him. His son is caught fighting in school, his house remains half-completed and his wife has left him.
When he becomes a person of interest in the possible murder and abduction of a local girl, he is sent on administrative leave by the university, but he does not wallow in self-pity, as he goes on to find helpers in surprising places.
Raban treats his characters from Finn to his father with balance and patience as he tells the story from the perspective of several people including Finn, Tom, Beth, and even Chick, who is Tom’s illegal immigrant contractor.
Together, the unique voices capture the particulars of Seattle at a unique time in American history.

Jonathan Raban’s novel “Surveillance” is a work set in the not-very-distant future, at a time when it is mandatory to have national identity cars for all residents of the United States.
America seems to have an obsession with intelligence gathering and even as civilians freely interact on the internet, scrutiny by the government is ever-present.
Journalists are determined in their investigations, even as children manipulate new technologies and snoop on their parents.

In Seattle, Tad Zachary is an unfulfilled actor who for the most part performs fictional disaster scenarios at the Department of Homeland Security.
Meanwhile, Lucy Bengstrom his neighbor and friend is struggling to support Alida her eleven-year-old daughter, since she is earning a meager income as a freelance journalist.
At some point, she is assigned to pen a profile about a best-selling author and former professor named August Vanags.

He just released a bestselling memoir but the more Lucy looks into it, the more she is convinced his account of events is questionable, even if she and her daughter are charmed by the man and his lonesome wife.
With compassion and precision, Jonathan Raban captures a rich variety of lives and an ongoing history at a time of intense faultlines in society.

“Foreign Land” by Jonathan Raban is a work that tells the story of George Grey as the lead.

He is living a life he loves as he is long since divorced and now works as a controller of a bunkering station in a West African region that is administered by the Portuguese.
But then he is asked to go back to Britain and retire and he cannot fathom living in sad old unfriendly, cold, windy, and rainy England.

The man comes across as a curmudgeonly old complainer but this is understandable given that his life has been tough at various times.

He complains about the Cornish village he lives in, the house his parents left to him, British television, the obnoxious upper-class people he has to interact with, the graffiti, the dirt, the surly shopkeeper, and the lower-class people living in the council estates.
It is a masterly crafted, charming, and witty work that is also a moving tale of quiet redemption, and awkward relationships.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jonathan Raban

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