33 Readers
16 Sages

shell pebble

Bread and Apples

A Time of Gifts - Patrick Leigh Fermor

Setting off from London to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople at the end of 1933, Fermor dives into a land of marvels that was largely swept away by the second war, already brewing as he makes his winding way with wide-eyed wonder and zest for every new experience

His description is unrestrained verbal extravagance, yet never loses its vivid immediacy, and while historical detail occasionally overwhelms, the balance and pace of the telling bears the mark of a master storyteller. It can be hard work to read but it's blazingly evocative of a vanished, perhaps fairytale pre-war Europe. It's as stridingly exuberant, as sun-bright, emotionally resonant and as unearthly at times as that unforgettable opening page of 100 Years of Solitude. My favourite section was Vienna, where he made sketches for his bread!