Idle Days in Patagonia

Hudson, W. H. Idle Days in Patagonia. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd. 1954.

In the very beginning Idle Days in Patagonia holds your attention. Hudson first grabs you with his narrow escape from drowning when the boat he was a passenger on went aground. Then after a trek through the dunes without food or water he arrives at an Englishman’s camp where he proceeds to shoot himself in the knee with a revolver. Then, if that wasn’t enough, while his companion goes to seek help he inadvertently cuddles up with a poisonous snake that has found its way into his sleeping bag. What’s even more astounding is that he is glad the Englishman isn’t there because he would have killed the “poor” creature! Because Hudson is an ornithologist he tends to go on and on about birds. Great if you are into that sort or thing. Not so much if you aren’t. Towards the end of Idle Days in Patagonia Hudson belabors certain subjects (I found his chapter on eyes to be rather dull) to the point of reader disinterest. All in all Idle Days in Patagonia was like a giant freight train that started off with a great deal of energy, but once the fuel source was depleted, rolled to a slow and painful stop.

Favorite passages, “To my mind there is nothing in life so delightful as that feeling of relief, of escape, and absolute freedom which one experiences in a vast solitude, where man has perhaps never been, and has, at any rate, left no trace of his existence” (p 7).

Reason read: December – January is the best time to visit Patagonia (I guess).

Author fact: If you have ever read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway you know Hudson was mentioned.

BookLust twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply “Patagonia” (p 173).



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