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An important caveat about this book - it’s not just for those who surf. As someone who has never attempted this sport in her life, I thoroughly enjoyed William Finnegan’s lengthy memoir. A detailed, and nicely-paced story, Barbarian Days begins in 1960s’ Hawaii, and from there takes us on an adventure around the word. Finnegan’s memoir is more than just an ode to a past time – it’s a story of balancing an obsession with the inevitable responsibilities of adulthood. He reflects on his past with humor, panache, and of course, a reverence for the sport which profoundly shaped his life.
45 of 46 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Barbarian Days in three words, what would they be?
perfect reminice, haunting
What other book might you compare Barbarian Days to and why?
Most of Russell Chatham's books on fishing. especially Dark Waters
Which scene was your favorite?
Loved every last page
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
A time and a place gone forever
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I deeply loved this book. The Hawaii chapter took me back to my Kahala childhood of the 60's. It's all true, exactly as Finnegan wrote. I physically flinched at some of the really awful passages about local brutality to outsiders in those days. The surfing life of the 60's and 70's are perfectly captured in Finnegan's memories. I usually dislike author read audiobooks, but Finnegan's voice added so much to this book, making every sentence and remembrance come alive for me, the listener. This is a beautiful book. I found myself repeating paragraphs and sentences so that I could pull even more out of my first listen. I went on the buy the hard copy to be able to read and reread passages. In all of the surfing articles and books I have ever read, this book describes the ocean, the surfer and that surfing set of mind better than anyone. The reader does not even have to have ever touched the ocean to appreciate Finnegan's lucid descriptions of oceans and the world he traveled and surfed in. Amazing book. So glad he wrote it.
46 of 48 people found this review helpful
Wasn't sure what to expect but really enjoyed this book. The style of writing and narration made it such an easy listen. My favourite part was probably the description of the the invisible waves at Tavarua.
amazing. loved it. I feel like I've finally got barreled! so beautifully written. will be listening again for sure. enjoy
the start is a little bit slow during his early years but as soon as he starts travelling the book gets amazing. the descriptive writing of some of the scenarios that he gets into especially when he starts to ride really big waves is epic and his voice as a narrator is perfect especially when he goes into a detailed scenario. the discovery around the islands especially Fiji is epic and also when he goes to Indonesia and finds Nias. I couldn't recommend this book more and I am only in my early thirties and a very keen Surfer!!
William Finnegan is without a doubt, now one of my heroes. His story is spellbinding, and I was especially happy to hear him visit of my local breaks. Hands down best book I've read in a long time.