Shaw’s book is essentially a brief log describing a summer family sailing trip across the Mediterranean during the early 1960s. Each chapter offers a brief journal-like description of a particular stop along the journey, which took the family across southern France, Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia. Rather than providing a traditional guided reflection of noteworthy sights and sounds, Shaw offers simple impressions of place and snippets of his personal interactions with various locals, as well as named and unnamed celebrities.
The book reads like a scrapbook of reflections. The reader can’t help but picture Shaw himself revisiting this journal, looking back and reminding himself of this place and that, strange encounters and the fun had by all. Some descriptions are purposefully left obscure, yet are still retained. There is personal significance in what’s stated, and because of this, the reader can at times feel left out of the loop.
However, Shaw’s book does provide important insights into foreigner-native exchanges and how these interactions are affected by the class distinctions present during the mid-twentieth century. In this respect, Shaw’s little journal holds an important significance for the modern scholarly reader.
Copy provided by NetGalley