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A Time of Gifts (New York Review Books Classics)


A Time of Gifts (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590171653
ISBN10: 1590171659
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

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At the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor set off from the heart of London on an epic journey — to walk to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the rich account of his adventures as far as Hungary, after which Between the Woods and the Water continues the story to the Iron Gates that divide the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. Acclaimed for its sweep and intelligence, Leigh Fermor's book explores a remarkable moment in time. Hitler has just come to power but war is still ahead, as he walks through a Europe soon to be forever changed — through the Lowlands to Mitteleuropa, to Teutonic and Slav heartlands, through the baroque remains of the Holy Roman Empire; up the Rhine, and down to the Danube.

At once a memoir of coming-of-age, an account of a journey, and a dazzling exposition of the English language, A Time of Gifts is also a portrait of a continent already showing ominous signs of the holocaust to come.

About the Author

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) was an intrepid traveler, a heroic soldier, and a writer with a unique prose style. After his stormy schooldays, followed by the walk across Europe to Constantinople that begins in A Time of Gifts (1977) and continues through Between the Woods and the Water (1986), he lived and traveled in the Balkans and the Greek Archipelago. His books Mani (1958) and Roumeli (1966) attest to his deep interest in languages and remote places. In the Second World War he joined the Irish Guards, became a liaison officer in Albania, and fought in Greece and Crete. He was awarded the DSO and OBE. He lived partly in Greece—in the house he designed with his wife, Joan, in an olive grove in the Mani—and partly in Worcestershire. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to literature and to British–Greek relations.

Jan Morris was born in 1926, is Anglo-Welsh, and lives in Wales. She has written some forty books, including the Pax Britannica trilogy about the British Empire; studies of Wales, Spain, Venice, Oxford, Manhattan, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Trieste; six volumes of collected travel essays; two memoirs; two capricious biographies; and a couple of novels—but she defines her entire oeuvre as “disguised autobiography.” She is an honorary D.Litt. of the University of Wales and a Commander of the British Empire. Her memoir Conundrum is available as a New York Review Book Classic.

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Joan P., January 21, 2012 (view all comments by Joan P.)
A precocious 17-year old youth travels by foot in the 1930's across Europe and writes about it as he goes. Patrick was a rebellious and very smart child. (Today he might be diagnosed with ADD!) Reading this book is a very entertaining way to learn some history, how to get along with people, and how to be courageous in a variety of situations. Leigh Fermor has written many books - add them all to your list. You won't be sorry. I wish I could have known this remarkable man.
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KirstenReads, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by KirstenReads)
If Patrick Leigh Fermor were to hold up a sign while hitching on the highway, it might say: "Lovable scamp. Gives good prose. Charming conversationalist. Will cheerfully eat or drink anything you offer. Will feature you in book."

I would totally give him a ride. You should, too.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Joan Murray, April 14, 2011 (view all comments by Joan Murray)
In 1934 an 18 year old upper class Englishman, without much future in school or the military, decides, for lack of money, to walk from England to Greece. He convinces his father to send him four pounds a month to designated stops along his projected route and he sets off with a volume of Horace and a blank journal in his rucksack. He stays close to the Rhine and eventually the Danube, tries to remain true to his intention not to accept rides of any sort, but since he leaves England in December, bad weather sometimes weakens this resolve and he finds himself traveling in every type of conveyance except an airplane. Needless to say he meets a wide array of people enroute that he would never have met in his ordinary life. Leigh Fermor writes beautifully and his "reading" of the landscape as he moves through it will drive most of us into other books, paintings, music and perhaps, personal memories of the same geography. I didn't want A Time of Gifts to end, but when it did, I read the 2nd volume of this travel diary, Between the Water and the Woods, and although Fermor is now in his 90s, he is writing the last volume which I eagerly await!
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Product Details

Morris, Jan
New York Review of Books
Introduction by:
Morris, Jan
Morris, Jan
Leigh Fermor, Patrick
Morris, Jan
Fermor, Leigh Patrick
Description and travel
Europe - General
Europe - Western
TRAVEL / Europe / General
Europe Description and travel.
Europe, Central Description and travel.
General Fiction
Travel : Europe - General
travel;europe;memoir;non-fiction;germany;history;walking;autobiography;travel writing;austria;biography;1930s;hungary;travelogue;20th century;literature;adventure;travel literature;holland;art;czechoslovakia;central europe;prague;architecture;slovakia;vie
travel;europe;memoir;non-fiction;germany;history;walking;autobiography;travel writing;austria;biography;1930s;hungary;travelogue;20th century;literature;adventure;travel literature;holland;art;czechoslovakia;central europe;prague;architecture;slovakia;vie
Edition Description:
Trade paper
New York Review Books Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.18x6.34x.73 in. .73 lbs.

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