The Water in Between: A Journey at Sea

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Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 289 pages
"A high-seas adventure story that combines the wry wit and deep reflection of "A Walk in the Woods" with the action and suspense of "A Perfect Storm."
A stint in the army and a broken heart lead Kevin Patterson to the dock of a sailboat brokerage on Vancouver Island, where he stands contemplating the romance of the sea and his heartfelt desire to get away. By the end of the day, he finds himself the neophyte owner of a sailboat called the Sea Mouse. He also has a plan: to sail to Tahiti and back, and burn away his failings in hard miles at sea.
First he recruits a traveling companion, another brokenhearted guy who at least knows how to sail. They set out like the Two Stooges-Seasick and Slapstick. Days without wind are days to kick back on the deck with a beer and a man-versus-nature adventure book that valorizes their journey into an essential quest for manhood. But eventually the voyage begins to take on a sharper edge. On a relentless beat across the South Pacific, they run across one solitary male sailor after another on the lam, not heroes but refugees. Both the literature and the reality of masculine adventure start to pall, and Patterson begins to long for home.
But to get there, he faces the toughest of trials, single-handedly sailing the Sea Mouse across the North Pacific and through a four-day gale, conscious that no one on earth knows where he is or that he might die. The illusion that men are best tested by loneliness and adversity cracks in the force of the wind and the terrifying beat of the water, and The Water In Between becomes a hymn, not to running away but to heading home.

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User Review  - Kirkus

A Canadian physician debuts with an emotional but sometimes pedantic memoir of his adventures traversing the Pacific in a 37-foot sailboat.In August 1994, Patterson, "absorbed in self-pity" occasioned ... Read full review

The water in between: a journey at sea

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Patterson, a Canadian army doctor upset over a failed love affair, decided to buy a sailboat and set sail for Tahiti. He knew nothing about sailing and had never been to sea. The man who joined him ... Read full review


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About the author (2000)

Kevin Patterson grew up in Manitoba, Canada, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian Army. When his service was up, he worked as a doctor in the Arctic and on the coast of British Columbia while studying for his M.F.A. He is currently a resident in internal medicine in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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