"Add ... literary skills, wide reading, a decent humanity, humor, a Global Positioning Satellite receiver, a Force 9 gale and you have The Water In Between, a delightful, finely written and, in the end, wise book." -The New York Times Book Review, Christopher Buckley
"I devoured Kevin Patterson's The Water In Between. He writes with such wisdom and clearheadedness, it made even me yearn for the open seas. It's an extraordinary piece of writing." -Alex Kotlowitz
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.
Praise for The Water In Between
"The Water In Between is a terrific literary travel story." -The Globe and Mail
"The Water In Between is well deserving of a place alongside Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines, Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard, and Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania, other much-loved voyages of loss, escape, and discovery." -Quill and Quire
"The Water In Between is a beautiful, somewhat haunting book--a thought-provoking meditation on solitude and the call of the wild unknown." -Amazon.com
Kevin Patterson grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian Army. When his stint was up, he worked as a doctor in the Arctic and on the B.C. coast while studying for his MFA at UBC. He is currently an internist, living on Salt Spring Island. His previous book, a collection of short stories called Country of Cold, was the winner of the inaugural City of Victoria Butler Book Prize as well as the prestigious Roger's Writers' Trust Award.
Kevin Patterson spent three months in the winter of 2007 working at a hospital in Kandahar, treating civilians and soldiers alike. Drawing from the experience, he is co-editing Outside the Wire, an anthology of writing about the war in Afghanistan in the words of soldiers, doctor and volunteers who have experienced it. It is due out in December 2007 with Random House Canada.