William Finnegan has a little bit of attitude. I imagine that’s what enables him to take on the challenging waves that he does...or the big subjects that he writes about for The New Yorker, and in his previous books. But that outlook (plus meaningful introspection) and his adventures around the world also make him a compelling subject. Finnegan’s style is a blend of flash and restraint that works fairly brilliantly over the course of Barbarian Days. He fills 440 pages with descriptions of waves and never gets redundant. Each depiction is similar and also unique, in the same way that surfing itself must vary. And in that way he's also revealing the potential of words and writing and their uses. The cumulative effect is extraordinarily powerful.