by Jonathan Raban

Paperback, 2004





Vintage (2004), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages


"From the author of Passage to Juneau comes a novel set in Seattle at the turn of the millennium, when the high-tech Gold Rush threatens to overwhelm the actual world with its myriad virtual alternatives." "Two immigrants, though, are drawn here by more traditional versions of the American Dream. For Tom Janeway - a Hungarian-born Englishman - it is the wife and son he thought he'd never have. For an illegal alien - Chick, as he comes to call himself - it is the land of opportunity he'd imagined back in the Fujian province. Given the overheated service economy, mutual need introduces the writer-professor-NPR-commentator to this enterprising handyman, and each soon finds himself strangely dependent on the other. Because meanwhile, all around them, people are busily charting futures that are obscure to, or exclude, anyone else."."Waxwings depicts the social realities of a boomtown in flux, as well as the illusions that distract its inhabitants from the most basic human impulse: to create a place we can call home. This is what Chick dreams of achieving, and what Tom must suddenly struggle to preserve. As the NASDAQ index spirals upward, street riots break out, a terrorist is arrested, a child disappears, a jetliner goes down - and the city, rimmed with feral countryside, begins to emerge in its true colors."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

Media reviews

What he likes doing is blending genres, confounding categories. Fiction, non-fiction, travel, sociology. His first major book, Soft City, mixed journalism with drama, semiotics and literary criticism. Foreign Land itself began as another travel book, a false start at what, the following year, became Coasting. What he does, he says, is "what used to be called 'human geography': writing about place - about people's place in place, and their displacement in it". His views, ironic and humane, are always acute; always illuminating. His prose - agile, musky, particular - is a treasure.

User reviews

LibraryThing member alic
a well-written description of Seattle during the heady dot-com era
LibraryThing member bobbieharv
Set very solidly in Seattle, about a guy with an ordinary life who gets falsely accused, and his growing relationship with a Chinese guy fixing his house, and lessening relationship with his wife. Much better than I've made it sound - great characters.
LibraryThing member Gateaupain
Early in the book there is reference to a box that Tom keeps full of scraps that one day he might turn into a novel. I think that this book is from Raban's scrap-box. - Different stories roughly overlapped. The book didn't finish. It just stopped. I didn't really understand the Waxwing reference (I'd bought the book for old times sake remembering Pale Fire). I enjoyed the trip of reading it tho'.… (more)


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Other editions

Waxwings by Jonathan Raban (Hardcover)
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