WILLIAM FINNEGAN is the author of Cold New World, A Complicated War, Dateline Soweto, and Crossing the Line. He has twice been a National Magazine Award finalist and has won numerous journalism awards, including two Overseas Press Club awards since 2009. A staff writer at The New Yorker since 1987, he lives in Manhattan.
For pure sensation, pick up New Yorker writer William Finnegan's memories of the beach, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. Just try and keep the sand out of your book ...and out of your sandwich. - Publishers Weekly, Best Summer Books 2015Surfing is Topic A here, but it inevitably connects with politics (when Mr. Finnegan taught in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1981, students boycotted his classes to protest apartheid), environmental issues (he sees great surf spots both created and destroyed by human enterprise) and much more. - New York Times, Cool Beach Books for Hot Summer DaysThere are too many breathtaking, original things in Barbarian Days to do more than mention here - observations about surfing that have simply never been made before, or certainly never so well.But a particularly remarkable feature of Barbarian Days is the generous yet unsparing portraits of competitive surf friendships that make up a major share of the narrative. - New York TimesNothing I've read so accurately describes the feeling of being stoked or the despair of being held under. But also because while it is a book about "A Surfing Life" - as the subtitle states - it's also about a writer's life and, even more generally, a quester's life, more carefully observed and precisely rendered than any I've read in a long time. - LA TimesA surfer's tale of his quest for self-transcendence is a masterpiece that recalls early James Salter - Geoff Dyer, the ObserverI don't know anything about surfing, but I was gripped by the intensity of his language, never mind the thrilling recklessness of his behaviour in the waves - Olivia Laing, Guardian Best Holiday Reads 2015Luscious - Ed Caesar, Guardian