When Rosemary Mahoney, in 1998, took a solo trip down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she discovered modern Egypt for herself. As a rower, she faced crocodiles and testy river currents; as a female, she confronted deeply-held beliefs about foreign women while cautiously remaining open to genuine friendship; and, as a traveler, she experienced events that ranged from the humorous to the hair-raising - including an encounter that began as one of the most frightening of her life and ended as an edifying and chastening lesson in human nature and cultural misunderstanding.
Whether she's meeting Nubians and Egyptians, or finding connections to Westerners who traveled up the Nile in earlier times - Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert among them - Mahoney's informed curiosity about the world never ceases to captivate the reader.
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. (Reviewed by Diane La Rue).
San Francisco Chronicle - Peter Lewis
Mahoney's flair for description coaxes reverence and wonder, at once delicate, opalescent miniatures of her surroundings, though with the chew and savoriness of nougat ... She also displays a felicity for drawing history into the mix, flashing sequins of background color.
People Magazine - Michelle Green
[Mahoney’s] compelling chronicle makes clear it was worth playing the spy…she experiences a rare view of a timeless culture….she tried to grasp the sense of 'being let in on a secret.' Grasp it she does, and Down the Nile is a first-rate report on her mission.
Entertainment Weekly - Jennifer Reese
Riveting….The trip would be no more than a gutsy stunt if Mahoney were not such a beautifully precise writer and such a compassionate observer.
The New York Times - Lisa Fugard
This intriguing book encompasses far more than Mahoney's hours on the Nile and a delicious recounting of the river's history.
Starred Review. This is travel writing at its most enjoyable.
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
Lillian Hellman, and while reviewers praised her writing, some people
criticized her for invading Hellman's privacy. But Mahoney does not blame
Hellman completely, she takes her share of the blame for her naïve, youthful
The year prior to the Tianamen Square protests in China, Mahoney had the
fortune to be involved in a teacher exchange between Harvard and...
In June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. It was a journey that affected her life in unexpected ways for years to come.
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