In Search of the Blue Duck

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What happens when an erudite, bookish, somewhat naive young man of twenty-two hailing from NYC decides to “escape leading the life expected of him and winds up leading a life he had never expected for himself” ?

Our narrator is an unidentified individual who is telling the story of our traveler, from his vantage point several decades into the future of the timeline of this narrative, (which is based in 1986), in the voice of a close third person POV.

It’s a fascinating tale of an odd duck (pun intended!) in search of adventure (and escape) into rare and exotic locales – a rough and tumble journey driven by the unacknowledged corners of his own mind that he will label metaphorically as “searching for the Blue Duck”.

Our hero ditches it all, – career, home, and any possibility of support from his mother and stepfather, to travel on an “around the world ticket” on an eighteen month journey, beginning with several stops on the islands of Fiji, and extending to others including New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

As he makes his way, our narrator captures the musings experienced by our traveler, – a humanities scholar and incredibly well-informed thinker – in gorgeous journalistic detail. Used to living inside his head, it’s very clear to the reader that “most of his musings come from books not life”, and as his journey unfolds, his surroundings inspire connections to an astonishing display of intellectual knowledge, and a keen desire to learn more along the way.

Topics including (to name just a few!) early 18th century Greek literature and vocabulary, natural history, the rise and the fall of the Roman Empire, ancient tribes and their settlement patterns, art history, and a wide variety of philosophical and religious questions are bandied about effortlessly – and I must admit, it took me a breath or two (and wikipedia in some cases!) to catch up with each fascinating topic shift.

Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here!) our protagonist battles sullen enemies and angry bees, communes with Rastas living off the grid, fights illness, near drowning and life-threatening weather conditions – and meets his love and traveling partner, in the form of an audacious twenty year-old Australian free-spirit (who is dealing with her own deep-rooted family avoidance issues).

As we follow the newly-formed duo through the whirlwind of their adventures, with experiences ranging from difficult, to frightening, exhausting, and even distinctly (Monty)”Pythonesque”, it’s clear that our narrators tightly intellectualized hold-it-all-at-arms-length world is changing.

Could it be that, perhaps, his search has finally ended?

A wonderful and unique adventure in itself, I highly recommend this tightly-packed jewel of venturesome insight.

A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

My stop today on the #randomttours #blogtour for #InSearchofTheBlueDuck @DogBerryLtd @JamesBloom


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