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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2014
  • 978-1494475314 B00H0JJY1U
  • 132 pages
  • $9.99
Letters from the Pacific: 49 Days on a Cargo Ship
The beauty of long-distance ocean travel is that you climb on board, unpack your things and stay in one place while the ship does all the traveling for you. “And then what?” your friends ask. Forty-nine days of empty ocean look like a long time, but in these engaging “letters home” about the characters on board, the ports exotic and dull, the workings of the ship itself, and the endless, sibilant sea – the voice of the interior journey began to assert itself. Who knew where it would go? Readers say the result is a slow boat to everywhere they want a book to take them, a vividly told voyage on the high seas, and a penetrating look into why we’re compelled to go . . . and to come home.
Reviews
Homer (The Magnificent Dr. Wao) inspires readers with this chronicle of a 49-day “voyage of exploration” she took through the South Pacific—from the Panama Canal to Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia, and New Zealand—as a passenger aboard a cargo ship. Homer embarks on her journey for a number of reasons: to experience again “the joy of being afloat in the vast, undefined watery spaces” that she first felt as a child on her father’s boat; to find some sort of “magic” that would wipe out troubles both physical (arthritis) and mental (doubts about her long-time marriage) ; and, while seeing other countries, to experience what a friend tells her: “Keep looking inward and see what the moment has to teach you.” What she discovers—and artfully describes—are the joys and hardships of life on a working ship (“A freighter is a noisy, dirty, smelly beast”), the beauty of the high seas (“With little warning, the red blob of sun oozed forth from the primordial soup, then slowly backlit the clouds above it, first in mauve, then rose, then gold”), and the strength she finds to go back to her daily life renewed, with a new appreciation for the “someone who has always been inside me but has been ignored for too long.” (BookLife)
Kirkus Reviews

Debut author Homer chronicles her experiences traveling via cargo freighter.
Homer’s first book is an adventure story—the journal of her 49-day trip through the South Pacific as a passenger on the
Louise, a cargo freighter. The author hates flying, and had no interest in a cruise ship’s gorging and gambling, so she
decided, why not rough it? From Costa Rica to Australia and back, by way of Tahiti, Fiji, New Caledonia, and New
Zealand, the Louise churned its 45,000 tons (cargo and author included) into the “open-ended silence of the sea.” Its
passenger comes away with plenty of good stories to share along with “a decidedly unromantic view of the life of a
seaman.” In Fiji, Homer missed out on seeing Raymond Burr’s orchids but did visit a pricey resort with “a man-made
island in the shape of a giant footprint.” In former colonial islands, she discovered to her chagrin that “the French seem
always to be French, no matter where they are.” The glorious and the grim are each delineated in detail, from the
“foreign country of constellations in the sky” to the constant awareness that “a freighter is a noisy, dirty, smelly beast.”
The aches and pains of travel are here in full measure: the cold of the ship, the pangs of arthritis in her knees, and the
limbs barked against listing furniture. Because much of the journal comprises minimally edited diary entries and letters
to friends, the reading experience can be choppy, especially since past and present tense mingle freely. But because of
the immediacy of the reporting, Homer’s character—questing, worrying, laughing—comes across with terrific clarity.
We come to know her well, or feel as though we do, and the curious world of cargo ports and the crews that visit them
become even more intriguing through her eyes.
A detailed, rare, and rewarding ride over a watery part of the world.

News
10/14/2017
Another 5-star Review

By Amy R Brookson, October 10, 2017

I was stuck in my house during a recent hurricane and the only truly transportive distraction I indulged in was Homer’s “Letters from the Pacific.” I read by candlelight (no power) and forgot about the pounding rain and angry winds outside my hillside home. Her imagery is crisp and clear. The details both poetic and informative. I’m now fascinated by the idea of international travel via cargo ship. When can I go, too? This is an easy book to recommend; to either those interested in an exterior or interior exploration. Keep exploring, Shaw, and then tell us all about it!

Check out all the great reviews on Amazon at the link below!

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 02/2014
  • 978-1494475314 B00H0JJY1U
  • 132 pages
  • $9.99

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