Sunday, June 12, 2011


A man of gifts

There's never an easy way to relay news such as this, so for those who haven't already heard, I'll just say straight out that yesterday my father wrote from New York City to tell me he'd read an obituary for Patrick Leigh Fermor. Leigh Fermor was 96 when he died. He had a long and wonderful life. But is any life ever long enough? Especially a life such as his?

Here is the Guardian piece. And the article in The New York Times.

It's a cold rainy evening here in Maine and I'm feeling sad and drizzly and nostalgic for a time and a place I never experienced: the wide open and golden world he described so beautifully in this now-classic memoir of travel literature:

I believe I have three copies of this book in the house at this moment. A hardcover first edition, a Penguin softcover reprint, and the New York Review Books softcover reprint. Located in bookcases both upstairs and down, alongside its sequel (also in hardcover and softcover, in the British and U.S. editions), next to many of Leigh Fermor's other books. Travel, history, literature, memoir, none of those simple classifications encompass the richness his books contain. I've loved him for a long time now. I remember recommending him to a customer of mine at the bookshop, years ago. This sweet fellow would come to Maine once a year, come by the shop and find a few things, and depart, to be unheard from until his next annual trip. So one year we talked about travel books and I told him to read Leigh Fermor. And the next year he came back to the bookshop, and the first thing he said was "That writer you told me about is good. I mean really GOOD." We stood there smiling at each other in complete agreement.

My heart aches for those who do not read. To miss the gifts that authors such as this have given us...!

I am so happy to have found your blog; I will be looking for Fermor at our library tomorrow. Thank you for the suggestion.
Michele, thank you kindly. Always happy to recommend a writer I love. I am late replying to your comment - just returned from a long painting trip. More blog posts soon, promise.
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