Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Down the Nile

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Down the Nile

Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff

by Rosemary Mahoney

Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney X
Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2007, 288 pages
    Sep 2008, 304 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Diane La Rue

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

Rosemary Mahoney

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 rude woman.

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 expectations.

The year prior to the Tianamen Square protests in China, Mahoney had the fortune to be involved in a teacher exchange between Harvard and Hangzhou University. The Early Arrival of Dreams; A Year in China, her account of this year, was named a New York Times Notable Book.

Mahoney was able to give readers a first-hand account of how the Communist Party persecuted intellectuals, and how the tensions grew that year into the protests that the entire world watched unfold the next year. She was in the right place at the right time, and her book gives insight into this difficult period in modern Chinese history.

Whoredom in Kimmage; The World of Irish Women was also named a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a National Book Award finalist. Mahoney visited Ireland to study the role of women in a changing Irish society. She visited small pubs in rural Ireland, a lesbian pub in Dublin, schoolgirls, a Legion of Mary meeting, and the first female president of Ireland.

Religious pilgrims are the focus of The Singular Pilgrim; Travels on Sacred Ground, a book that looks at Mahoney's quest to visit religious shrines to discover the beliefs of modern pilgrims. Among other trips, she walks the five-hundred-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain, rows the Sea of Galilee, and bathes in the waters of Lourdes.

All of her books are described on her website,, where she also shares photos from her trip to Egypt to row down the Nile. These photos are gorgeous and add greatly to the enjoyment of her book, but it would have been more informative if they were labeled.

Additional reading:

Article by Diane La Rue

This article is from the November 12, 2008 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Eat the Apple
    Eat the Apple
    by Matt Young
    Truth is stranger than fiction. Matt Young's memoir tackles the space in between truth and ...
  • Book Jacket: Educated
    by Tara Westover
    Tara Westover had the kind of upbringing most of us can only imagine. She was the youngest of seven ...
  • Book Jacket: The Girls in the Picture
    The Girls in the Picture
    by Melanie Benjamin
    Melanie Benjamin's fine historical novel about the relationship between two women in the early ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The House of Broken Angels
    by Luis Alberto Urrea

    The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story from an acclaimed storyteller.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Y L D W D, Y'll G U W Fleas

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.