For New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan, surfing has always been more than a matter of recreation; rather, it is an existential act. In his Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir, Barbarian Days, he describes the ocean as a capricious deity and explores not just its beauty but also its vast indifference, the dangers that exist beneath the surface of its swells. Tracing a line from boyhood—he learned to surf when he was 10 and honed the art as a teenager in Hawaii—to the present, Finnegan writes of his experiences with a journalist’s nuanced eye. At the center of the book, however, is his own growth and development, in which surfing functions less as metaphor or mirror than as a sort of crucible.


AUTHOR WILLIAM FINNEGAN IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN FREEMAN

When: Thursday, July 15, 2021, 5:30 p.m. Pacific time (please note special start time)

Format: John Freeman will lead a free hour-long conversation with Finnegan, which will include a reading by him and questions from the audience. Produced by Alta Journal for streaming on Zoom.

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Penguin Books
BARBARIAN DAYS: A SURFING LIFE, BY WILLIAM FINNEGAN
Penguin Books Bookshop.org
$16.56