Jon Ronson, Lost at Sea

by B Thornton- Harwood

“The mood was what I imagined it must feel like when somebody turns on all the lights at an orgy.”


The two books I brought to Cambridge with me were Ronson’s Lost at Sea and HST’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Ironically enough these were both authors I studied for the past 12 months whilst writing my dissertation.

Regardless I went head on into Ronson’s Lost at sea. It’s a collection of his works from GQ and the Guardian and brilliantly easy to read.

Broadly speaking Ronson looks into people on the fringe of society; self made superheros, clairvoyants, world eating champions, and examines them in a way that is not condescending nor making fun of them as you might expect. He portrays them in a way that humanizes them and allows us as an audience to appreciate what they do, however strange.

Case in point a chapter on Stanley Kubrick. Ronson observes some of the outrageous steps and measures Kubrick went through in making his films, from taking pictures of near enough every single front door in West London; to buying up over 900 bottles of brown writing ink because the company was discontinuing that particular shade.

Ronson can also do some more serious investigative work. The books namesake Chapter Lost At Sea is about the frightening string of cruise ship workers and passengers who simply go missing in the middle of the ocean. And yet almost nothing seems to be done about it.

The book as a whole is very funny, and can be dipped into and out of with amazing ease, although you may well find yourself sat up at 4am wondering where the last 3 hours and 200 pages have gone.