Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff
records Rosemary Mahoney's
solo journey rowing down the River Nile - a river that flows south to north,
which intrigues her*.
Mahoney's prose is lovely: "The more I learned about the Nile, the less
forbidding it seemed. I had so often imagined rowing on the Nile that doing so
had begun to feel less like a fantasy and more like a memory that only wanted
its corresponding action rightfully exercised." Her descriptions of the scenery,
topography and animals of Egypt paint vivid pictures in the reader's mind.
Rowing the Nile alone could be a daunting task for
any foreigner, but more so for a woman. While the
parts of the river she traverses (from
Aswan to Qena) are benign, civil unrest and
Egyptian attitudes to women make it challenging.
Beyond the Book
Some people categorize Rosemary Mahoney as a travel writer, but she is much
more than that label suggests. Her intellectual curiosity, fearlessness, and
ability to craft beautiful prose, along with her uncanny knack for being in the
right place at the right time, have led to her success.
Her first adventure occurred when she was seventeen and sent a letter to her
idol playwright Lillian Hellman, asking for a summer job. What she thought would be a
summer sitting at the feet of her mentor ended up with her being a servant to a
Mahoney's memoir of this summer is titled,
A Likely Story; One Summer with
and while reviewers praised her writing, some people
criticized her for invading...